FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A female student at Indian River State College was shot and injured as a gunman and police traded fire Thursday in the parking lot of the college’s campus, a college spokeswoman said.
The student was injured as police converged on the armed man in the parking lot of the Treasure Coast Public Safety Complex on the college’s campus at 4600 Kirby Loop Road in Fort Pierce.
Michelle Abaldo, the college’s director of institutional advancement, told WPTV NewsChannel 5 the woman got in the line of fire and was injured in the shoulder. Abaldo said the gunman was not a student.
Fort Pierce Police Chief Sean Baldwin at a news conference would not confirm the type or location of the student’s injury or her condition. She was taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute, Baldwin said.
Baldwin would not release the names of the man or student Thursday night.
According to Baldwin, the incident began around 4 p.m. when police began receiving reports from throughout the city of a man in a green truck brandishing a gun. Police said there was at least one shooting incident at 40th Street and Avenue J and reports of a hit and run at 29th Street in the area of Avenue J or K.
The hit-and-run incident prompted St. Lucie County School officials to lock down Chester A. Moore Elementary, 827 N. 29th St., for a brief time, according to district spokeswoman Janice Karst. Dismissal at the school is at 4:15 p.m. Administrators kept the students and postponed dismissal by about 10 minutes. Parents were notified about the brief lockdown by phone, she said.
Ultimately, police found the suspect in the parking lot of the training complex near the main campus about 4:30 p.m.
Baldwin said police fired at the suspect and he was taken into custody about 4:45 p.m. Baldwin said the man was taken to a hospital but would not comment on his injuries or release the hospital’s name.
Baldwin said he believes the man ending up at the college was just a coincidence.
“This doesn’t present a widespread threat,” Baldwin said of the shooting. “As the incident was going on there was quite a bit of danger to the community. That threat has been resolved.”
Baldwin said because Fort Pierce officers were involved in a shooting, he has turned the investigation over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is standard procedure.
“I don’t know exactly what the actions of the suspect were except he did present a threat to the officers and the community,” Baldwin said.
Five bullet holes were found on the back window of the suspect’s truck. Baldwin couldn’t confirm if officers shot the window.
It is not known what precipitated Thursday’s incident.
Abaldo said classes at the Public Safety campus after the shooting were canceled for the evening. The administration used a variety of ways to notify students and faculty about the cancellation, including email alerts, Reverse 911 calls, Facebook and the college website, Abaldo said.
More than a dozen law enforcement vehicles were at the scene.
Police closed and blocked off parts of Kirby Loop Road and Rogers Road and cordoned off the area with crime scene tape. The suspect’s vehicle remained in the campus parking lot near law enforcement vehicles. Residents along Kirby Loop Road stood in their front yards and watched as police worked the scene. Several students, who might have been witnesses to the incident, were seen in the parking lot talking with police, some apparently upset.
When reporters approached students being interviewed by police who were possible witnesses to the shooting, college officials would not allow them to talk and escorted them into the public safety complex.
Staff writer Lamaur Stancil contributed to this report.
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