Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Danville Student Faces Felony Charges for Airsoft Pellet Gun

MOUNT VERNON — A Danville student accused of shooting classmates with a pellet gun will face felony charges for inducing panic.

Assistant Knox County Prosecutor Rob Broeren said the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Thomas J. Wine, 18, with inducing panic, a fourth-degree felony. Wine also faces two misdemeanor assault charges, which will now be bound over from Mount Vernon Municipal Court.

“After reviewing the actions of Mr. Wine, the office of the Knox County Prosecutor believes that the recklessness of his actions led to the lockdown at the Danville High School and elementary school and caused significant panic,” said Broeren, “thus justifying the filing of a felony inducing panic charge.”

The lockdown occurred Friday, when students riding the bus back to Danville from the Knox County Career Center exited the vehicle to find Wine waiting.

Wine, a senior at the career center who was not in school on Friday, allegedly pulled out an airsoft gun and began shooting a male juvenile with the 6 mm plastic pellets.

Danville Police Chief Monte Vance said the two students had been involved in an altercation earlier that week. Vance added that other students were allegedly hit with pellets and that the sight of Wine with the pellet gun caused panic among the students.

Vance apprehended Wine shortly after Wine fled the scene, and had him incarcerated at the Knox County Jail on a $5,000 bond.

According to the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office, case law did not support felony charges based on the pellet gun, which is not considered a firearm or a deadly weapon. However, officials later decided to press felony charges based on the panic that Wine’s alleged actions caused among the other students.

Wine remains incarcerated in the Knox County Jail.

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