Two Jessup teen-agers arrested on gun possession, theft charges

March 23, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Howard County police arrested two Hammond High School freshmen on gun possession charges yesterday after being tipped off by an anonymous caller.

Officials declined to release the names of the two 15-year-old Jessup boys because they are being charged as juveniles with numerous handgun violations, including illegal possession of a firearm, theft and reckless endangerment. The gun was not brought to the Columbia school, police said.

Police said they received a call about 8 p.m. Wednesday on their 24-hour School Violence Tip Line that a student was planning to sell a handgun to another student.

Pfc. Ricky Lee, a resource officer assigned to Hammond High, and Cpl. Robert Castor began an investigation at the school yesterday morning. After speaking with students, officers said, they learned that one of the boys had taken his father's .32-caliber revolver from a vacation home in Garrett County. The boy is said to have stolen ammunition for the gun from his home in Jessup. Students interviewed by police said they saw the boy with the gun at his home.

Police said they learned that the boy was planning to sell the weapon to the other Jessup teen, who expressed interest in buying a gun after being involved in fights. Officials said none of the fights occurred on school grounds and there was no indication that the students had planned to take the gun to school.

With parental consent, police said, officers searched the home of the boy who was seeking to sell the gun and found the weapon in his bedroom. Both boys were questioned by police and arrested.

School district spokeswoman Patti Caplan said she wanted to stress that no gun was found on Hammond's grounds.

"This had more to do with a number of things that took place off campus over the weekend and early this week," Caplan said, "and not really anything that had to do with the school."

Sherry Llewellyn, a spokeswoman for the Howard County Police Department, said the School Violence Tip Line - 410-313-3250 - has been in operation since November 1999. The 24-hour tip line is well advertised, she said.

"The fliers are posted all over the schools, and our school resource officers promote it," Llewellyn said. "If you walk through any of the schools in the county, you will see the number prominently posted."

Police declined last night to say whether the boys were in custody.

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