Gov. Scott to Visit Bell This Afternoon


Florida Gov. Rick Scott will visit Bell, Fla. Today in the wake of a shooting that left six children and two adults dead on Thursday Sept. 18.

“Today around 1 p.m. Gov. Scott will be here,” Gilchrist Sheriff Robert Schultz said. “He’s been a very good source for me. He wants to check on how we’re doing here.”

Schultz, Superintendent Rob Rankin and Lt. Jeff Manning spoke at a press conference from Bell at 10 a.m. on Friday.

Rankin provided updates from Bell Elementary School, where some of the victims were students.

“It was a tough, tough morning in Bell Elementary School,” said Rob Rankin, Gilchrist County Superintendent. “These students were loved by their classmates, teachers and staff at Bell Elementary School.”

Rankin said about 20-30 area counselors were brought in to help the nearly 540 students as well as staff members of Bell Elementary.

“Everybody grieves different. Trying to work with each one,” Rankin said. “It really hurt this morning  to be on our campus and see the kids feel the way they did.”

Schultz said officers were called to the home where the six children and their mother Sarah Spirit were shot on multiple occasions. He said none of the calls were related to domestic violence.

Schultz added no motive was relayed to any officer even in the shooter’s 911 call.

“Maybe that will come out in the investigation and that’s why we’re going to take our time with this,” Schultz said.

He said he couldn’t identify the father of the children and that more information will be available soon.

According to Schultz, the suicide shooter, Don Spirit, was not a legal gun owner. Schultz added this is an ongoing investigation but the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s office believes the shooting was carried out by a lone gunman.

Check back for updates as this story continues to develop.

About Erica A. Hernandez

Erica is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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