Freak punch kills student
ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - A construction worker was being held on murder charges Thursday after a student at a central Florida high school died from a single punch to the head in a school yard confrontation, police said.
Mark Thornton, a 16-year-old junior at University High School near Orlando, dropped to the ground and never got up after Wednesday's incident, Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Angelo Nieves said. He was later pronounced dead at Florida Hospital-East.
Omar Witt, a 20-year-old construction worker who showed up at the campus just after classes were dismissed for the day, was being held on a charge of second degree murder, Nieves said.
Witt and some friends had confronted Thornton about the alleged harassment of a girl they knew. The dispute escalated when someone shouted a racial slur at Witt, who is black, Nieves said.
Although Thornton denied uttering the slur, Witt slugged him in the temple.
"At that time he went down. There's no indication that he ever got up again," Nieves said. An autopsy will determine whether Thornton died instantly.
School spokeswoman April Podnar said school officials will review campus security measures.
"While its not uncommon for a fight to break out on a school campus, you have to admit that its extremely rare that one punch would result in a death," she said.