A Brandon, Florida girl allegedly brought pepper spray to her school and discharged it in a crowded hallway on Friday, news sources report. The spray injured 36 students and one school employee, all of whom were taken to area hospitals for treatment. The 12-year-old girl allegedly responsible for the spray was detained at the county’s Juvenile Assessment Center on one count of disruption of school function. Detectives say they may peruse criminal charges against the suspect. It is unclear whether the suspect’s family has obtained a defense lawyer.
According to reports, the incident occurred at McLane Middle School in Brandon. A spokesperson for the school said, “We live in a time where kids don’t take things as seriously as they should. I’m sure the person who did this didn’t know all of this was going to happen and didn’t expect there would be all of this attention.” The spokesperson added, “We just got through a good testing season. I’m very disappointed with all this commotion.” It is unclear whether the suspect will be allowed to return to the middle school to finish out the year.
The suspect was in hall 200 with over 90 other students who were on their way to class, reports say. The majority of the students were in the sixth grade. The suspect discharged the pepper spray and the scene turned into that of a “horror movie,” a witness says. “Everybody was running out of the 200 building,” the student-witness said. “[The kids] were crying and screaming” as they scrambled out of the building.
Three students who suffered from pre-existing respiratory conditions were taken to the Brandon Regional Hospital. Fourteen students were taken to an area hospital via ambulance, while 20 others were taken on a school bus, reports say. “Pepper spray does not have lasting effects, but it is really painful in the sense of burning in the eyes and coughing,” a police spokesperson said.
Detectives assisted in the evacuation of hall 200 and spoke with the 12-year-old suspect in the principal’s office before detaining her. She has since been released to her parents.
In other news, Kayla Mechelle Ailey of Niceville was arrested Saturday after she was accused of stealing over $300 worth of clothes and jewelry from an area department store, reports say. Ailey, 22, was booked into police custody on charges of retail theft. It is unclear whether she qualified for bail or hired legal representation.
According to reports, the incident occurred at Beall’s Department Store on Emerald Coast Parkway in Destin. The store’s loss prevention office contact police to report the theft. An employee claimed that Ailey collected 14 items, including shirts, dresses, and jewelry, from the store’s shelves and concealed them on her person. Ailey then exited the store without paying for the items, the employee claims.
Detectives spoke with Ailey, who reportedly admitted to stealing the clothes and jewelry, saying she did not want her boyfriend to pay for them. In all, Ailey walked out of the store with $316.60 worth of goods, sources say.