CCSO: Student brought gun to elementary school, lied to deputies

CCSO: Student brought gun to elementary school, lied to deputies

COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Investigators in Colleton County say a boy brought a stolen gun to an elementary school in Walterboro on Wednesday then lied to investigators telling them he found the weapon.

Sgt. Kyle Strickland with the Colleton County Sheriff's Office says the incident happened at 1 p.m. when a student reported he found what he believed to be a gun at Northside Elementary School on 1929 Industrial Road.

The student originally told investigators the gun, which was determined to be a loaded Glock .357, was wedged in the "v" shaped portion of a tree located near the school's playground area.

On Thursday, Strickland says investigators became suspicious of the boy's story and conducted a further investigation and began interviewing the student.

According to Strickland, during further questioning, the student told investigators that he was the person who actually brought the weapon to school.

Authorities say on Monday, the student went inside a neighbor's home, stole a can of chewing tobacco and opened a dresser in the bedroom. A report states the boy then found a box that had a gun which he stole as well.

The student told investigators he then took the gun and the tobacco to school, and once inside, put the gun in a box located "just outside the classroom door in the hallway area."

Strickland says later that afternoon, the student was found in possession of the tobacco, and his parents were notified. The boy was then sent home from school by officials. Strickland stated at this point, the student never admitted to stealing the gun.

According to CCSO officials, on Wednesday, the child's mother said she checked her son's bookbag for any contraband and said he did not have anything illegal on him. The child then arrived at Northside Elementary School.

The student said he became nervous and retrieved the gun from the box.

He told investigators that once he was outside for recess, he put the gun in a tree and told school administrators that he actually found the gun. School administrators then contacted the sheriff's office who began an investigation and conducted a safety sweep of the property surrounding the school in which no other weapons were found.

The Colleton County School District says the student has been suspended and was recommended for expulsion. 

The district released the following statement: 

On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, a handgun was discovered on the playground at Northside Elementary. The preliminary investigation conducted by law enforcement and Colleton County School District indicates that a student had brought the gun to school and concealed it. The investigation is still underway, but law enforcement and school officials are confident that this was an isolated incident. The student who brought the gun to school has been suspended and is recommended for expulsion.

Interim Superintendent Franklin Foster wants to assure the community that the safety of students and staff is of utmost importance. Precautionary actions are being set into motion to address this type of situation. Going forward, district staff will be reviewing all safety procedures. Additional training for staff and students will be scheduled. Dr. Foster has emphasized: "The school district will continue to collaborate with law enforcement."

Dr. Foster would like to commend the school administration for taking immediate action and for getting students into safe, secure locations and for working with law enforcement collaboratively.

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