Students from four different schools in Texas were arrested Thursday for possession of firearms — a day after a mass shooting in a Florida high school killed 17 people.
Teens from Marcus High in Flower Mound, Plano West, South Garland and Houston Can Academy Hobby were taken into custody after they were found carrying deadly weapons to schools. Two others — one each from Nichols Junior High and Weatherford High, were also arrested for making terrorist threats to shoot up the school, Dallas News reported.
An unidentified juvenile was arrested at Plano West high school by a school resource officer, while he was investigating a Campus Crime Stoppers lead, which indicated a student had brought a gun to school.
Plano police spokesman David Tilley said the fact that such an incident occurred a day after the Florida shooting was mere coincidence.
“It’s disturbing regardless of what happened yesterday or any other time; it’s always disturbing when a kid brings a gun to school,” Tilley said. “You really never know what their motive behind doing that is.”
Tilley added students have to understand that firearms are not something to joke about.
“I don’t quite understand it, especially in the climate we’re facing today,” he said. “It’s a disturbing trend that is taking place, and if these kids think that it’s funny to bring a gun to school even if they have no intent of using it … they’re finding out it’s not that funny.”
It was not immediately clear where the student managed to get the gun from. It was not loaded and no ammunition was found on the student.
Plano West authorities sent an extended letter to all the parents informing them of the incident.
“We will follow district policies and procedures and take appropriate action to the fullest extent of the law,” the letter said, ABC-affiliated WFAA reported. “We want to assure you that we take all security related incidents very seriously and we will always exercise caution regarding matters of safety.”
Houston Can Academy
The Houston Police Department (HPD) arrested Houston Can Academy student Jaquinn Alani Smith, who had a gun in his backpack. The suspect was charged with carrying a weapon in a prohibited place.
The weapon was discovered by the school officials during a security check conducted on students before they entered the school building. The gun was confiscated by the school principal and kept securely in the office before law enforcement were tipped off, ABC 13 reported.
“During the normal screening, a security guard found a pistol, which we believe is a revolver, in a jacket of one of the students,” HPD Cpt. William McPherson said. “The student realized a pistol had been found took off running.”
The academy’s Hobby campus was temporarily on lockdown as the police located the suspect and took him into custody.
“It’s overwhelming. One day you’re coming to school and you hear that there is a gun in school. Anything could happen, you know, and it is really scary,” Derin De Leon, a student of the school, said. “Your life can be taken away at any moment and you don’t really know what to expect, especially with all these killings going on in schools and stuff.”
After multiple students reported seeing a teenager carrying a concealed weapon, the police arrived at Marcus High and arrested a 16-year-old suspect, who was not identified.
The suspect was removed from the classroom and soon after, an unloaded, small-caliber handgun and ammunition were found in the teenager’s possession. Marcus principal Gary Shafferman told parents in a letter the police did “not believe the student intended to harm anyone on campus.”
Kerry Guery, 19, was found in possession of a stolen phone, an unloaded handgun and marijuana in his backpack after a school resource officer and the principal confronted him. He has been charged with carrying drugs and guns in an area, where both of them are prohibited.
The police are yet to determine where he got the gun from since the weapon’s serial number was scratched off. Since no ammunition was found on the suspect, who had two prior theft warrants against him, the police cannot be sure if he intended to make use of the weapon.
“Obviously, we’re very cautious in regards to any type of behavior that could lead us to believe some sort of violence could occur,” Garland police Lt. Pedro Barineau said.
Nichols Junior High and Weatherford High
A 13-year-old and a 16-year-old were arrested in Nichols Junior High and Weatherford High respectively, for making terroristic threats. No guns were discovered on either of them.
The Weatherford High student — who made “vague” threats on social media — was taken into custody by a school resource officer and transferred to a juvenile detention facility.
“What we’re seeing more and more of is that students and young adults are posting things on social media and kids don’t realize … their words have consequences nowadays,” Weatherford Deputy Chief Chris Crawford said.
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