Monday, October 31, 2005

Teen accused of bringing airsoft gun to school likely to receive one year school suspension

A 13-year-old student accused of bringing a plastic BB gun to school and hitting two classmates with it will likely be dismissed from the public school system for a year. That's what a state law calls for.

One of the victims told police the eight grade boy was showing off the air-soft gun Wednesday morning during recess.

She says the boy shot her friend first, then shot her. Both suffered bruises.

Firearms are not allowed on any school campus.

The teen boy was charged with two counts of third degree assault and displaying a gun in public.

Today's Teen: De Pere gamer lives for PlayStation 2

My name is: Bruce Ninham.

People call me: Bruce.

My age is: 14.

My school is: West De Pere High School.

I live in: De Pere.

People describe me as: funny.

A band or musician I can’t get enough of is: Mike Jones.

The song I would choose as the theme to my life is: “I’ma Hustla” by Cassidy.

My all-time favorite movie is: “Half Baked.”

I never miss an episode of: MTV’s “The Real World.”

If you’re on the Internet, be sure to check out:

A book or magazine I’d recommend is: “PlayStation Magazine.”

I hate to admit it, but my guilty pleasure is: eating chips.

If I could switch places for one day with anyone, it would be: Mike Jones.

My favorite breakfast cereal is: Fruity Pebbles.

The best birthday gift I ever received was: an airsoft gun from my mom.

A celebrity that really annoys me is: Larry the Cable Guy.

The last thing that made me laugh was: “South Park.”

My favorite cartoon character is: Cartman.

If I could have a super power: to fly.

One of my greatest fears is: snakes.

My best trait is: my personality.

My worst habit is: being lazy.

In my spare time, I enjoy: going on the computer and playing video games.

If I won $1 million, I would: buy a bigger house and give some to my mom.

If I could travel anywhere, I would: go to New York City.

I can’t possibly live without: my PlayStation 2.

My future plans include: going to college.

My dream job would be: a DJ for WILD 99.7 FM.

The best thing about being a teenager is: going places by yourself.

My family includes: my mom Nancy, my sisters Marissa and Marie, brothers Matthew and Bobby, my nephew Desmond, and my dog Naceita.

Hey, teens, introduce yourself to other teen readers with an “About Me” profile. It’s simple. Just e-mail Thomas Rozwadowski at and tell him you’re interested. He’ll hook you up with the details.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Schools take aim at toy guns given as gifts

YUCAIPA - Yucaipa-Calimesa schools Superintendent Mitch Hovey remembers the day a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy mistook a laser-tag gun for the real thing and opened fire on a 19-year-old Rancho Cucamonga teen, killing him.
Hovey doesn't want a replay of that 1987 incident happening on any of his campuses and is asking parents to scratch realistic soft-air pellet guns and other replica firearms off their holiday gift lists this year.
Several look-alikes have been confiscated from elementary-age children on Yucaipa campuses in recent months, he said, and at least one expulsion proceeding is under way. A couple of others have been referred for expulsion review.
Other Inland educators said they, too, are seeing more replica handguns on campus and worry about potential tragedy.
Dianne Pavia, spokeswoman for Riverside Unified School District, said school officials have confiscated four look-alikes at different elementary campuses in just the last two weeks and about a dozen overall from various primary-grade students since the end of last school year.
"Parents for the most part don't know their kids have them because they're buying them from the ice-cream man," she said. "It's apparently a popular item and they're selling them right off the truck for $5."
Greg Vojtko / The Press-Enterprise
Sport Shack owners Howard and Pat Reeves display some the AirSoft and BB guns, including a realistic Crosman 760B repeater.
Pavia said principals have gone to classrooms and explained to students it illegal to bring any kind of firearms on campus -- real or imitation.
"These are expellable offenses," Pavia said.
Hovey said he worries about more look-alikes showing up on campus as the holidays arrive.
"With Christmas coming, I'm afraid parents will be buying their kids what they think are toys," Hovey said. "But if a kid brings it to school and the cops are called, my main concern is that sooner or later some law-enforcement officer is going to mistake one for a real gun. Officers are trained to engage and I don't want anyone getting hurt."
Yucaipa police recently raised the alert at a task-force meeting with school administrators.
"One of the officers brought in a couple of soft-air guns," Hovey said. "They have a magazine you can pull out and they're weighted like a real gun. "
Soft-air guns are designed to fire small plastic pellets and, depending on their design, operate by spring, compressed gas or electrically.
The newer generation replicate real semi-automatic firearms such as the 9 mm Sig Sauer P226, the .45-caliber Colt 1911 and 9 mm Israeli Micro Uzi.
Hovey said possession of any replica handgun on school grounds violates the state Education Code and automatically starts the expulsion process. District administrators have discussed the situation with school principals, he said, and will get the word out to parents through quarterly and monthly newsletters.
Howard and Pat Reeves, owners of the Sport Shack on Yucaipa Boulevard, sell several models of soft-air and BB guns. Their policy is not to sell them to anyone under 18.
"As a business owner, you can't sell what you like. You have to sell what sells," Pat Reeves said. "But if the kids don't come in with a parent, they don't get it. So at least I can sleep at night."
Federal law requires manufacturers to place an orange ring around the barrel of soft-air guns to distinguish them as nonlethal. However, Lt. Jerry Davis, of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's substation in Yucaipa, said he would "dare anybody" to tell the difference between some replicas and the real thing at night.
Davis said deputies are trained to look for the orange ring to make sure they do not inadvertently open fire on someone holding a look-alike but the safeguard is no guarantee against tragedy. While earlier paint-ball guns had big canisters on top of them, making them easily identifiable, newer models resemble real assault weapons and high-powered handguns, he said.

"It looks like somebody's carrying an AR-15 or M-16 assault weapon," he said. "I've seen .45-caliber semi-automatic replicas. They're making whatever they want to make. They're not illegal."
How these "toys" can produce tense situations became clear about four months ago when Yucaipa sheriff's deputies responded to reports of men in camouflage carrying assault weapons near a housing tract.
"When the first deputy approached, they scattered and tried to hide. Now the deputy is thinking he's under assault," Davis said. "It just got uglier from there. Five units ended up responding. It turned out to be a bunch of 16- and 17-year-old kids with soft-air guns acting dumb -- exactly the kind of thing that can escalate."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

LHS athletes had pellet guns in locker room

Ten Lincoln High School varsity football players were cited and suspended earlier this month for firing Airsoft pellet guns in their locker room, according to police and school officials.
Many of the teenagers had the pellet guns since early September, but they weren’t found until Oct. 4, when a 17-year-old was shot in the eye, said police Officer Katherine Finnell. He suffered swelling and blurred vision but was not seriously injured, Finnell said.The pellet guns, which can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Scheels, Shopko and other Lincoln stores, are the latest trend among teens, Finnell said.Problem is, it’s illegal to fire them in the city.
According to a city ordinance, discharging a projectile from any type of weapon — including a toy or a slingshot — is illegal when doing so endangers people or property.The guns can cause welts and other injuries, Finnell said.“They are the rage, now,” she said. “It can be very dangerous.”The 10 Lincoln High students were ticketed for discharging a weapon within city limits. The student who accidentally shot the 17-year-old was cited for third-degree assault. The boys also were suspended, according to school officials.They missed two Lincoln High football games, against Fremont on Oct. 7 and against Lincoln Southwest on Oct. 14. Lincoln High lost both games. The boys are back at school and played in Thursday’s game against Kearney. They also lost to the third-ranked Bearcats.The students had been firing the guns at the walls of the locker room and at each other for fun after practice, Finnell said.“Boys will be boys,” said Lincoln High football coach Jose Jefferson, who discovered the pellet guns. “I’m not upset, just a little disappointed. We lost 10 players for two games.“It’s done. It’s over with. We learned.”Lincoln High Principal Mike Wortman said, “We have always tried to do what we can to make Lincoln High a safe place, and we will continue to do that.”Rachelle Amory, 18, and Teresa James, 17, both Lincoln High students, said a letter about the incident was mailed home to parents.Other LHS students on their Friday lunch break said guns — Airsoft or otherwise — had no business in school.“A gun of any sort should not be allowed,” said James Fuehrer, 17. “It was taken way too far.”Said Steven Calim, 16: “Boys will be boys, but the whole football team?”Reach Josh Swartzlander at 473-7120 or pellet gunsAirsoft guns, which shoot plastic pellets, rapidly are gaining popularity. They are sold in stores across Lincoln. But it’s illegal to fire them within city limits.The guns come in various shapes and sizes. They worry police, not only because they cause injuries, but also because they can be mistaken for real guns.Source: Lincoln Police Department

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Teens charged for pellet gun -West Central High School students may face expulsion

BIGGSVILLE - Two West Central High School boys were charged with aggravated battery Friday after they reportedly shot three girls with an Airsoft pellet gun in the parking lot before the start of school that day.
The girls were not injured, and the two boys were arrested without incident.
A passer-by saw the boys with the gun and called police. They immediately ordered Superintendent Ralph Grimm to put the West Central Elementary and High School buildings under lockdown, which lasted for about 30 minutes.
The boys, ages 15 and 16, are from Biggsville. Both appeared with their parents before Judge Richard Gambrel Friday afternoon. Gambrel ordered the two placed under house arrest until their next court appearance, slated for Nov. 2 in Henderson County Juvenile Court.
Airsoft guns shoot 6mm plastic pellets. The guns are often realistic looking, but have a blaze orange muzzle to distinguish them from real firearms.
In a letter to district parents Monday, Grimm said he wanted to comment on rumors surrounding the incident. Grimm said no drugs were involved nor were drug dogs brought to the school after the incident.
"The situation was contained in the parking lot immediately to the east of the bus garage on the North Campus," he said.
The School Board will meet in closed session at 6:30 p.m. today to discuss student discipline. Grimm said while state law gives the district the option of expelling students, the law is subject to interpretation whether the district is required to expel students who have a weapon on school grounds.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Williamsport High School student expelled due to airsoft gun

A Williamsport High School freshman was expelled on Friday after bringing a pellet pistol to school and firing it, the Washington County Sheriff's Department said.

Police said the 14-year-old boy had an Airsoft pistol, loaded with plastic pellets, concealed in his waistband.
There was a report that the boy showed the pistol to other students and fired it in the school, police said.
Police said other students told an art teacher, who confronted the boy. "He reportedly knelt down and pulled it out of his waistband and surrendered it to the teacher," police wrote in a press release.
Police said the pistol was an exact replica of a real SIG Sauer pistol - similar to one an 18-year-old Frederick, Md., man had when he was shot and killed by Frederick Police on Sept. 30.
Frederick Police said they were chasing the man and three other people when they ordered him to drop the handgun, but he turned and pointed it at them.