Essex 8th-grader takes loaded gun to school

Expulsion of teen-ager and juvenile charges are likely, officials say

May 09, 2002|By Tim Craig and Stephanie Desmon | Tim Craig and Stephanie Desmon,SUN STAFF

An eighth-grader at Deep Creek Middle School was questioned by police and released yesterday after taking a loaded handgun to the Essex school in his backpack. He will be suspended and likely faces expulsion, school officials said.

The 14-year-old, whom police would not identify, did not threaten anyone but approached an English teacher during his lunch period and told the teacher he had a gun, officials said. He then showed the weapon to the teacher, who confiscated it and took the pupil to the principal's office, where police were called, said school system spokesman Charles A. Herndon.

Cpl. Ronald Brooks, a Baltimore County police spokesman, said investigators are trying to determine where the gun came from and why the pupil took it to school.

"All these questions need to be sorted out," Brooks said.

Brooks said charges are pending against the pupil, who will likely be charged as a juvenile.

Police briefly detained the pupil yesterday but released him to his grandmother, who is his legal guardian.

Though Herndon had no figures available on the number of weapons confiscated in county schools, he said, "It doesn't happen often in Baltimore County."

A letter from Principal Maria Lowry was sent home to parents.

"I wanted to share the details of this incident with you to minimize rumors or misinformation and to reassure you that all appropriate actions to ensure the safety and security of our students were taken," she wrote.

Although school officials and police refused to identify the pupil who took the gun to school, several pupils said they know who did it.

They said the suspect and another pupil in the school had been in a feud. The suspect also was the frequent target of school bullies, classmates said.

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