Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Boy with pellet gun arrested at school


For the second time in a week, police arrested a San Diego high school student on suspicion of bringing a pellet gun on campus.
Yesterday, a 16-year-old Mira Mesa High School student was arrested without incident immediately after getting off a school bus at the Reagan Road campus, San Diego police Sgt. Rod Vandiver said.
On April 26, two Scripps Ranch High School students were taken into custody after a pellet gun was brought on campus. In both cases, police received a tip from San Diego County Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit private organization that operates a hotline to report campus incidents.
An anonymous phone call was made at 7:17 a.m. yesterday identifying a Mira Mesa student who "always brings a gun to school in his backpack." The caller told authorities he had seen the weapon, San Diego Unified School District officials said.
City and school police were notified and were waiting yesterday when the student's bus arrived on campus at 8:15 a.m. The 10th-grader was confronted at gunpoint and told to hit the ground.
As he did, what turned out to be an Airsoft pellet gun fell out of his pants, said San Diego police Lt. Shelley Zimmerman.
"The student argued that he had done nothing wrong because the gun was not loaded with pellets," Zimmerman said. "It looked like a real .45-caliber weapon."
The gun had no red or orange tip to identify it as a replica weapon and the grip was wrapped in a brown cloth known as a "do rag."
The student was taken to Juvenile Hall and faces expulsion.
Mira Mesa High did not have to be locked down. The arrest came as students were arriving.
School officials planned to send a letter home with students informing parents of the incident and reminding them of the school's zero-tolerance policy on real or fake weapons.
Officials also praised the person who phoned Campus Crime Stoppers, part of the countywide organization, with the tip. Callers remain anonymous and may receive cash awards up to $1,000 for reporting illegal activity, even if the tip does not lead to an arrest.
The money for awards comes from private donations and fundraising.
In last week's incident, the two Scripps Ranch students, both 16, were arrested. One said he bought the Airsoft handgun, loaded with pellets, from the other for $150.

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