Loaded gun found in school after concerned father reports 14-year-old son

Hope Schreiber
A freshman at Westerville North High School is accused of bringing a loaded gun to school. (Photo: Google Maps)
A freshman at Westerville North High School is accused of bringing a loaded gun to school. (Photo: Google)

A 14-year-old Ohio student will face two felony juvenile charges for allegedly bringing a loaded small-caliber handgun to his high school on Wednesday. The gun was discovered by Westerville North High School's resource officers after the student's father called expressing concern that his son may have a weapon.

Around 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, the school resource officer located the student in his classroom after the father's phone call. He brought the teen to a secure area, where no students or staff were present, to search him. According to Westerville Police, a loaded small-caliber handgun was found in a pocket of pants that the student wore underneath jeans.

"Given the circumstances, the way this situation was handled helped [keep] everyone safe, and for that we are extremely thankful," Greg Viebranz, executive director communications and technology for the Westerville City School District, said in a statement provided to Yahoo Lifestyle.

The student was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and conveyance of a firearm on school grounds, and faces expulsion.

“I think the biggest thing to look out with this situation is that a father knowing there would be consequences was concerned enough about the safety of his son and about the safety of the students at Westerville North that he was willing to come forward and share information,” Westerville Police Chief Charles Chandler said, according to WCMH.

Chandler added that the student and his family have "cooperated to a certain extent" but have invoked their right to an attorney.

It is still currently unknown how the 14-year-old came to possess the firearm, or who owns it. According to Chandler, the boy did not make any specific threat and it is unclear why he brought the gun to school.

“Our investigation so far has turned up no threats over social media, no kind of hit list,” Chandler said told WCMH. “We’ve been able to uncover no type of specific threats against any students or against the school.”

"What makes this situation rather unique is that we were notified about this concern by the student’s parent,” Viebranz said in his statement. “He called school officials this morning to express concerns about his son, one of which is that he may be in possession of a weapon. We understand how difficult it must have been for the parent to share this information with us, but clearly we are grateful he did. If you see something, say something. It's a simple, yet powerful message, and one that served us well today."

A letter from the school's principal, Kurt Yancey, was sent to families detailing the incident. The student will now face "the appropriate disciplinary and legal proceedings," Yancey stated in the letter shared with Yahoo Lifestyle.

"As your principal, I take the safety of our school very seriously. I truly believe that all of the time, energy and effort we have put into safety training resulted in today’s matter being resolved quickly and without incident," Yancey's letter to families read. "I especially want to thank the parent who contacted us with concerns about his son. This likely was a difficult decision, but one that illustrates how important it is for everyone to say something if they have any concerns about the safety of our school, students, or staff."

Representatives for Westerville Police did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

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