Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Public safety

11-year-old struck by lightning dies at Tampa General

TAMPA — The 11-year-old boy who was struck by lightning Wednesday died Sunday shortly after he was taken off life support at Tampa General Hospital, according to reports.

Jesse Watlington, 11, of Fort Myers was walking with classmates to football practice Wednesday afternoon when he was struck.

He was the first one on the field for football practice at Southwest Florida Christian School that day, his parents said. Other children felt the lightning's electricity but were not harmed.

Jesse had been on life support but showed little sign of improvement over the weekend. His family called for prayers on Friday during a news conference.

His father, Chuck Watlington, wrote on a social media page late Sunday, thanking people for their support.

"Our little Angel is now in a better place, watching over us," he wrote. He asked everyone to wear purple, Jesse's favorite color, on Monday in remembrance of him.

Marissa Lang can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3386 or on Twitter @Marissa_Jae.

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