Woman accused in Ashley Hall threats bought gun in Walterboro
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Police say the woman who tried to fire a loaded gun aimed at an Ashley Hall school official earlier this week bought the gun from a gun shop in Colleton County.
Charleston Police Department had been withholding the information, pending an active investigation by Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms enforcement.
Police said the Taurus PT-22 used by 28-year-old Alice Boland was purchased from the Walterboro Gun Shop on South Jeffries Boulevard, several days before the incident outside the private, all-girls' school last Monday. We reached out to the owners of the gun shop, but they opted not to comment.
ATF officials now say Boland will not face federal charges for the incident.
Court documents state Boland pulled the trigger of the loaded pistol while aiming at the school's director.
The gun never fired.
Boland has been charged with attempted murder, two counts of pointing a firearm, unlawful carrying of a firearm and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. She was also arrested by Beaufort County deputies on a charge of third-degree assault and battery in August 2010, according to SLED records.
Furthermore, she was also charged with threatening to kill President George W. Bush and "the entire Congress" in 2005, according to federal court documents. A judge dismissed the charges four years later after Boland pleaded not guilty on the reason of insanity.
She has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and Asperger's Syndrome.
There were approximately 50 students and several other schools officials when Boland approached the Rutledge Avenue private all-girls school a little after 3 p.m. Monday, court documents state.
School officials told Reporter Harve Jacobs on Tuesday they had no knowledge of Boland prior to the incident.
However, a Charleston police officer said he responded to the school in reference to Boland harassing children and acting very suspicious two years ago, according to a supplemental incident report.
Authorities say the woman reportedly pointed and pulled the trigger on a loaded handgun at an Ashley Hall school official who was on the sidewalk near the Rutledge Avenue entrance of the school.
A police report states that the official went back on campus and told someone in the office to call the police. Police say officers arrived on scene within minutes and arrested Boland.
When police asked Boland where her SUV was, she told them "[she] parked it at [her] old psych doctor's office," according to a supplemental report.
The officer who recognized Boland from the previous incident then located her SUV parked in a parking lot near Cannon Street and Rutledge Avenue, the same lot she parked in during the disturbance which reportedly occurred two years ago.
Boland appeared agitated during a bond hearing on Tuesday, telling the judge she was making a "political demonstration."
"I wanted to make a political demonstration about problems in my life, relating to the fact that racist feminists in such an institution where I was demonstrating have been causing me alleged mental problems," said Boland.
She then went on to question her charge of attempted murder.
"Even though I was allegedly threatening them, I did not actually hurt anyone," Boland told the judge. "Why was it attempted murder? I didn't say I was gonna murder anyone. Maybe I was firing the gun randomly?"
Boland was granted a $900,000 bond.
School resumed on a normal schedule for students and faculty on Tuesday.
Jill Muti, Head of School at Ashley Hall, provided this statement shortly after the incident:
"Shortly after 3:20 p.m. today, a woman approached our school during the carpool pickup exhibiting erratic behavior. Faculty members immediately initiated emergency procedures and began to secure the assembled students, faculty and the school. As a faculty member approached the woman, she drew a weapon from her bag. Faculty members attempted to lead her away from the school and after ensuring that all students and personnel were secured, the faculty members re-entered the secured campus. The woman never entered Ashley Hall's campus.
Within minutes of calling 9-1-1 as part of our emergency procedures, police were on the scene and apprehended the woman. The Charleston Police Department will continue to have a presence at Ashley Hall over the next few days.
Three important points: 1) All students, faculty and personnel are safe; 2) This was an isolated incident and this woman was acting alone; 3) Ashley Hall's emergency procedures worked thanks to the outstanding, and extraordinarily brave, members of our faculty.
We also thank the Charleston Police Department for their swift and professional response to the needs of our school community."
Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story referred to the school's director as a headmaster, quoted from Charleston Police Department court documents. We have since learned no such position exists at Ashley Hall, and revised the information accordingly.