Avalon Middle School students charged with bringing gun to school to be tried as juveniles

The two middle schoolers charged with bringing a firearm to Avalon Middle School will be tried as juveniles and will not be moved to adult court.

Supervising Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille told the News Journal that the Office of the State Attorney decided to charge them as juveniles due to their age.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff's deputies arrested a 14-year-old and 15-year-old student Thursday after administrators and students discovered they allegedly brought a 22-caliber gun to class. They were both charged with felony possession of a firearm on school property.

Here's everything to know about the incident.

Teens arrested: Two Avalon Middle School students arrested for allegedly bringing gun to campus

How did law enforcement discover the gun at Avalon Middle School?

According to law enforcement reports, two classmates and a teacher told the school resource officer on campus that they saw the students with a firearm.

The report says the 15-year-old in the case had a 22-caliber revolver along with a box of 22-caliber ammunition in his backpack. He then allegedly passed it to the 14-year-old, which is when their classmates saw the firearm.

"A witness advised me another student passed the firearm to (the 14-year-old) by putting it in his backpack," the resource officer wrote in his report. "Upon retrieving (the student) from class, Dean Demilly Machado searched (the) backpack and recovered a loaded 22-caliber revolver."

Both students were provided their Miranda rights and made a statement to law enforcement, but those statements are redacted. While the report says the 14-year-old "was scared and did not know what to do," the 15-year-old denied bringing the gun to school and denied ever seeing it.

The 15-year-old later recanted, but his reason is redacted. He later said he didn't know the firearm was in his backpack.

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What does the Santa Rosa County School District have to say about the incident?

In a statement provided to the News Journal, the Santa Rosa County School District said that student safety is their priority, and that they would help the SRSO in any way possible.

"The safety of our students is always a top priority and we appreciate our students, staff and stakeholders partnering with us to ensure safety by saying something when they see or hear something concerning suspicious behavior," the statement said. "We take our roles as educators and protectors of our students very seriously. We are thankful for the swift actions of the school's administration and very grateful that our students were able to return home safely (Thursday) and everyday."

The school district also said school was dismissed as normal and a callout was made to all families of Avalon Middle School students.

What disciplinary measures will the two teens face?

Since their case will remain in juvenile court, nearly all case materials are exempt under Florida's public records law, so it in unknown what penalties they face.

However, Marcille said the teens would face some sort of juvenile sanctions and could be admitted into any number of the various programs the Department of Juvenile Justice runs, all at the discretion of the court.

Deputies arrested the middle schoolers for violating statute 790.115(2)(c)(1), which makes their alleged crime a third-degree felony. Had they been charged as adults, they both would have faced five years in prison.

Escambia County School District offers reminder to parents

Escambia County Public Schools sent out a press release Friday reminding "members of our community that firearms are not permitted on our campuses at any time."

They also announced a partnership with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office firearm-sniffing K-9 Buster. Buster is specially trained to sniff out firearms and ammunition and will appear at district schools and events.

Buster has already been utilized at local schools, per the release.

This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Avalon Middle School students to be charged as juveniles in gun case