BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — A teenager is in custody in Mercer County after the discovery of a loaded firearm in his possession at school.
The 17 year old was caught with a firearm Thursday at Bluefield High School. The discovery was made after Bluefield Police were involved in an investigation and contacted school officials about the possibility the student might be armed.
“We had been investigating some incidents that occurred in the community. We actually spoke with the principal and asked him to search the belongings of a student there who we thought might have a firearm on him,” said Lt. Detective Kenneth Adams of the Bluefield Police Department.
The teen was immediately detained and is charged in a juvenile petition with having a deadly weapon on school property. He’s currently lodged in a juvenile detention center as the investigation continues.
Adams was limited in the information he was able to release about the incident or the nature of the investigation which led up to the discovery. He confirmed the pistol was a semi-automatic 9 mm handgun and it was loaded. The weapon did not belong to the teen’s parents, but Adams could not say where it had been obtained.
He did caution parents to pay more attention and be vigilant.
“It’s okay to check their belongings and okay to make sure they are safe at school. We don’t want this to happen again,” he said.
Nobody was hurt in the incident. The gun was located in the student’s locker after what the school system called a “reasonable suspicion search.” The school was placed under lockdown and parents and students were notified of the discovery.
The Mercer County Board of Education office issued a statement on the incident;
““Possessing a weapon at school is clearly a violation of law and we have zero tolerance for this act.. We expect to see criminal charges in addition to school imposed disciplinary measures. The student involved will be subject to school board policy and appropriate laws that govern weapons on school grounds, which is a zero acceptable possession policy. Today’s incident highlights the essential role students and all members of the school community play in school safety,. Anyone with pertinent or concerning information should report it immediately to administration or law enforcement. As the school system says time after time, student and staff safety continues to be the most important part of our jobs. While this incident is unquestionably concerning, the school system will continue to be vigilant in ensuring student and staff safety.”