The Herald Bulletin

March 4, 2013

Police: Highland student arrested after bringing unloaded gun to school

Suspect allegedly threatened girl

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — A Highland Middle School student was arrested Monday afternoon after allegedly bringing an unloaded handgun to school and threatening a fellow student.

Anderson police arrested Anthony J. Stewart, 16, on preliminary charges of Class C felony intimidation, Class D felony possession of a firearm on school property and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a permit. According to Anderson Police Department spokesman Detective Joel Sandefur, Stewart’s probation officer and the Madison County prosecutor’s office waived the teen on to adult court after a review of the case.

The incident occurred around 10 a.m. when two female students approached an off-duty officer working security at the school and told him that Stewart had threatened one girl with a handgun, Sandefur said.

Stewart allegedly showed that girl the gun and told her he would shoot her if she told any staff members about obscene writings he had made on a chalkboard.

Sandefur added that the teenager reportedly displayed the handgun to multiple students at the school.

He said the security officer immediately detained Stewart and got school officials involved. An investigation revealed that Stewart had passed the gun on to a fellow student who was hiding it in a classroom, Sandefur added.

The gun was not loaded. Police were unsure where Stewart got it.

Sandefur said officers took statements from students, staff and the alleged victim to confirm much of the story. Stewart was taken to the police station for questioning and arrested.

The student holding onto the weapon was not charged, but it was unclear whether the school will dole out punishment.

Anderson Community Schools Superintendent Felix Chow could not be reached for comment by press time.

Suzanne Lewis, the parent of a student at Highland, said she received multiple automated messages about an unloaded gun being brought to the school.

“Just with everything going on nowadays,” she said, the school should really look into purchasing metal detectors. She said the school wanted to alert parents that there was no danger, but that it was still a scary situation.

Because, what if it had been loaded, she asked.

Sandefur noted that the incident is still under investigation.

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