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Sheriff | Student brings stolen handgun on school bus; two teens in custody

Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 8:54 AM EDT
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UPDATE 4/6/22 @ 5:30 p.m.

JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Two teenagers have been arrested after deputies said one student got on a school bus Wednesday morning with a gun for a planned school shooting.

According to Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger, after conversation about the gun began on the bus, the student who attends Ripley Middle School pulled out the firearm. At that time, the sheriff says another student grabbed the magazine and reported to the bus driver that a student had a gun on the bus.

“If it had not been brandished on that bus, it would’ve made it to the school,” Mellinger said. “There is not a doubt in our mind.”

School officials notified the Sheriff’s Office of the report of a weapon, and the bus driver stopped at Evans Elementary School as deputies responded. Deputies safely removed students from the bus and secured the firearm, magazine, and ammunition.

While investigating, deputies learned the handgun had been stolen during the weekend by the 15-year-old student’s older brother, a 16-year-old.

Mellinger said the juvenile accused of bringing the gun on the bus had at least one intended target.

“This was legitimately the worst of the worst,” Mellinger said. “It’s the incident that every child, every school administrator, every parent fears.”

Both brothers are in custody. Charges against the juveniles are pending.

“The training of see something, say something certainly has paid off today,” said Superintendent Blaine Hess. “We train and rely on our students and staff to be alert to potential safety threats. This situation is an example of that training working as intended. I appreciate the quick response of school administrators and our Sheriff’s Office to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”

Despite a notification sent to parents that said everything was safe at the school, there was a string of parents picking their students up early. Stacey Keefer said her 14-year-old student texted her, asking to go home because he was concerned for his safety.

“In our county everybody does hunt, so some kids his age do have guns,” Keefer said. “Hug your kids and tell them you love them before you send them off to school because you never know what is going to happen in this day and age.”

Keefer also wanted to thank the student who grabbed the magazine on the bus and alerted the driver. She planned on talking with her child about always speaking up if he sees something odd and wants other parents to do the same with their students.

“We just need to be vigilant, and if you notice anything let somebody else know,” Keefer said.

ORIGINAL STORY

JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A student was taken into custody Wednesday morning after deputies recovered a handgun, according to the Jackson County Sheriff.

Jackson County Schools says school officials notified the Sheriff’s Office of a report of a weapon in a student’s backpack while on a school bus.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a county elementary school, safely removed students from the bus and secured a firearm, magazine, and ammunition.

A 15-year-old is in custody, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“A potential tragedy was avoided today,” according to Sheriff Ross Mellinger.

“The training of see something, say something, certainly has paid off today,” said Superintendent Blaine Hess. “We train and rely on our students and staff to be alert to potential safety threats. This situation is an example of that training working as intended. I appreciate the quick response of school administrators and our Sheriff’s Office to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”

All Jackson County Schools are operating normally Wednesday.

This is a developing story.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

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