Sunday, February 13, 2011

Student charged with felony for waving gun

An elementary student was met with more than their typical walk home from school on Thursday afternoon.
The student hadn't ZA.
The juvenile was allegedly in a pickup truck with three of their peers when the younger student noticed what was believed to be a pistol being waved in their direction, according to Berger.
"We take this very seriously," he said. "This is unacceptable and we will not accept any kind of behavior like this in this community."
Officials from the WYPD received a call from victim's parents shortly after the victim told them what had happened.
The victim described the weapon as being a silver and black pistol, but Sergeant Matt Stubblefield and Berger later discovered that the weapon in question was a clear airsoft pistol with black grips after confiscating the weapon from the older student.
Smith and Wesson manufactures the airsoft pistols that shoot plastic pellets instead of metal bullets, but look stunningly real when compared to actual firearms, according to Berger.
The high schooler is being charged with felony assault with a weapon, according to Stubblefield.
"The felony charges come into play because it took place on school grounds. Assault with a weapon is (when someone is) causing reasonable apprehension with a weapon. The weapon is made by Smith and Wesson, who makes handguns. It's a close enough replica to a handgun," Stubblefield said.
A time for the juvenile to appear in court will be arranged through Gallatin County Youth Probation, according to Stubblefield. The juvenile and his parents will meet with youth probation and parole officials.
The juvenile is being charged as a minor, but the crime can carry stronger punishments due to the serious nature of the offense.
"Felony assault with a weapon is one of the crimes that can be tried as an adult," Stubblefield said.
He responded to a similar call while working in Utah involving a boy that had lost an eye from being shot with an airsoft gun.
"People don't realize the amount of damage airsoft guns can do, especially at close range," he said.
Students were released early from school at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday for a scheduled curriculum development day for teachers and staff.
West Yellowstone School Superintendent Lael Calton verified that no weapons entered the school building, but did not take the matter lightly.
"Safety in the school is priority number one for all of our students and our staff and we have very specific rules and policies in place in order to protect them," she said.
The school district has a zero tolerance weapons policy and anyone who violates that policy will be dealt with in a severe manner, according to Calton.
Calton and high school principal Terry Falcon conducted a separate internal investigation of the incident because it occurred on school grounds.
Varying factors are taken into consideration when an investigation is being conducted by school officials, according to Calton.
"As a superintendent I have to be concerned with firearms, weapons, guns or dangerous conduct in or on school property," she said.
Only one juvenile is being charged by police, but Calton and Falcon spoke with all students involved in the matter.
She did not indicate if the student with the airsoft gun had been suspended from school or not, or what possible disciplinary action will be taken against the students.
She was disturbed at how difficult it was to discern that the airsoft gun was not an actual firearm, but regards any weapon as extremely serious.
Like the rest of the nation, West Yellowstone residents aren't immune to turning on their television sets and risking the chance of seeing weapons and violence being cast over the airwaves. The chance of real life violence taking place is also something that can happen just about anywhere.
"Nobody, no school, no state and no town is immune from something like this happening. Fortunately we have a small enough town and for the most part our students respect our rules and have exemplary conduct," Calton said. "But sometimes our kids make poor choices and they are still kids. Hopefully they will learn from their poor choices and they won't make them again."
Stubblefield hasn't dealt with this type of incident at the school in the past, but wants the kids to understand the seriousness of the incident.
"It's very apparent that the kids (involved) don't understand how serious it is and it is likely to happen again if they're not made to understand just how serious it is," he said.
Calton reminded school students what the rules are regarding the weapons policy this week by adding the policy guidelines to the morning announcements that are cast over the PA system at the beginning of each school day.

1 comment:

  1. I really love airsoft guns. I hope government support this sport