Sixteen Eastside High School students have been charged following a large brawl at the Gainesville school Wednesday, which left one Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputy injured and forced the school into a modified lockdown.
Of those charged, 14 were arrested and two were charged via sworn complaint, with charges ranging from battery on a law enforcement officer to disorderly conduct, ACSO spokesman Lt. Brandon Kutner wrote in an email Thursday morning. Four adults were among those charged.
The incident began at about 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, when a group of roughly 15 to 30 students began fighting in the common area of the school, located at 1201 SE 43rd St. , Kutner said.
“We really don’t know what caused this at this point,” he said.
The fight eventually spread to two other sites at the school, and ACSO deputies responded to the scene, resorting to pepper spray and Tasers to control the situation. At one point, a student punched a deputy. Another student injured their head, later requiring medical attention, Kutner said.
Alachua County Fire Rescue and UF Health Shands Hospital responded to the school to treat the students affected by the pepper spray.
Outside the locked-down school, a handful of parents and other family members waited anxiously to hear if their loved ones -- students at the school -- were safe.
Stella Green, 32, waited to hear from her brother, 17-year-old Deangelo Williams, who she said was pepper-sprayed and shocked with a Taser as the brawl began.
Green said the 11th grader was walking to class when a law enforcement officer approached him and tried detaining him.
When Deangelo resisted, he was subdued, which his mother, Sharon Williams, found to be “extreme.”
“A Taser’s kind of harsh,” Williams said.
Jackie Johnson, the director of communications and community initiatives at Alachua County Public Schools, said school officials will be investigating the incident along with law enforcement and reviewing the security footage to see what sparked the brawl and identify who was involved.
“We will determine penalties based on the student’s actions,” she said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates