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A.C. Flora mourns the loss of 'a good friend' set to graduate soon

18-year-old Carlisle Kelly was an International Baccalaureate student student at A.C. Flora, who played soccer, ultimate frisbee and ran cross country.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — An A.C. Flora High School senior set to graduate in a couple of weeks was found dead on Thursday, shot to death inside his car. Now, the school and the community are mourning his death.

18-year-old Carlisle Kelly was an International Baccalaureate (IB) student student at A.C. Flora, who played soccer, ultimate frisbee and ran cross country.

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Tom Sunday, cross country coach and AP physics teacher at Flora, is mourning the loss of a special student and athlete. "For me, it's just been a dazed day ... coming to grips with what's happened." 

Sunday says Kelly was an exceptional student. "Carlisle's sophomore year, he took AP physics from me. He was that bright," Sunday said. "He was a wonderful student and very composed and very intellectual." 

Sunday says Kelly, an International Baccalaureate student, a program designed for academically driven students, was a very special person. "A wonderful student. Very composed and very intellectual."

Sunday says, "We shared a taste in music. He would always tell me the next indie pop band that I was supposed to listen to."

According to Sunday, Kelly was ranked 24th in the state last year for cross country. "He became one of the best runners on the team." 

"Gentle. Quiet. Reserved. Steadfast. And funny," Sunday said when asked to describe Kelly as a person. "Good one-liners, really good one-liners. He would give me lots of chuckles with his one-liners. And I think, just a good friend."

In a statement, A.C. Flora principal Susan Childs said:

"It is with deep regret that I share the news that one of our students has passed away. Carlisle Kelly, an IB Senior student who played soccer, ultimate frisbee and ran cross country, was killed last night. This tragic news is impacting his very large circle of Flora friends and the Flora community as a whole."

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The Richland County Sheriff's Department says deputies were called to the 1000 block of Frasier Street, which is off of Bluff Road in Columbia, just before 6 p.m. Thursday night.

When they arrived, deputies say they found a car with bullet holes in the driver's side door before finding Carlisle unresponsive in the driver's seat. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators believe this is an isolated incident and there is no threat to the community. 

"It was a tough year, what a heck of a senior year, and then to have this piled on top of it at the end," Sunday said.

According to the sheriff's department between January 1st, 2020 and May 27th 2020 there were 12 fatal shootings. From January 1st 2021, to today, there have been 13, one more for the same time frame in Richland County.

RELATED: 'This is a public health crisis': Community leaders look to address gun violence

If you have any information about the shooting that killed Kelly, deputies ask you to contact Crimestoppers anonymously in any of the following ways:

RELATED: Coach remembers A.C. Flora baseball player killed in car accident

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