TOWSON, Md. — Police are calling on gun owners to secure their weapons following two Baltimore County incidents involving students with guns, and in one incident, the student reportedly carried the handgun with him on the school bus.
Last Tuesday morning, authorities responded to a call from Stemmers Run Middle School. Officials said a 13-year-old student rode to school on the bus carrying a .25 caliber semiautomatic handgun as well as a 6- or 7-inch hunting knife.
The student sat through his first-period class with the gun in his pocket. At the end of the class, he produced the gun. He pointed it first at his teacher, then at his classmates, then at himself.
As the students began to flee the classroom, the teacher physically intervened and managed to disarm the suspect. The gun fell to the floor, and the teacher restrained the boy.
The teacher then used her school-issued radio to call for help, and when officers arrived, they took the student into custody. Pending review of the state’s attorney, he will be charged as a juvenile.
Police have served a criminal summons on the boy's grandfather, Norman James Gatewood, who is the owner of the handgun. He is charged with violating the state law that requires gun owners to secure their weapons from children 15 years old and younger. Violations are misdemeanors punishable by fines up to $1,000.
At a press briefing after the Stemmers Run Middle School incident, Police Chief James Johnson displayed several guns of the type that the student took to class — all smaller than a cell phone.
He also displayed the locking mechanisms that gun owners can use to prevent guns from being used improperly.
“The teachable moment here is, ‘Lock your weapons up,’” Johnson said.
Johnson and County Executive Kevin Kamenetz also said that, effective immediately, the police will enhance their presence in county schools.
During an Aug. 27 shooting at Perry Hall High School, one student was shot. A guidance counselor grappled with the 15-year-old suspect, preventing him from causing additional harm.
Other articles and news on weapons:
• 3 Steps to Weapons Incident Prevention
• Driver stops student from hijacking bus