, Corbin, KY

January 9, 2013

Student faces felony gun charges

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By John L. Ross, Staff Writer

A student who brought a gun onto Whitley County High School’s campus Jan. 3 will face felony gun charges in juvenile court, according to Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird.

“This was an event that happened rather quickly on campus,” Bird said. “I don’t know what the school could have done to prevent it.”

He explained the male juvenile, a co-op student, was in a relationship. “He and (his girlfriend) had a breakup — a bad breakup,” Bird said. “He was very emotional and didn’t know how to handle it.”

He said the juvenile came onto the school campus and stated his intentions were to harm himself with a 20-gauge shotgun. He met with the girl, and Bird said the student tried to get her into the vehicle with him, but that she saw the gun in the cab of the truck.

She fled the school and went to a friend’s apartment, according to Bird.

But then, Bird said the juvenile suspect arrived at the apartment while the girl was on the phone with her mother.

Bird said the girl began receiving text messages from the juvenile stating he’d kill himself unless she met him in the parking lot in five seconds.

Her mother contacted 911.

“When officers arrived, (the girlfriend) was standing inside the driver door,” Bird said. “He was pointing the gun at himself.”

He said officers then made contact. “Officers drew their weapons, and he then complied and we took him into custody,” Bird said. “In the (truck) we found a handwritten note saying he was going to kill himself, and the shotgun with two live rounds in it.”

“He never entered the building or exited the vehicle at the school,” Bird said. “But it would have been difficult for the school to have known what was going on.”

He said the girl was “so shaken up” that instead of alerting school officials to the situation, her main concern was getting away. “She felt like she had to get out of there,” he said. “And she got off campus as quick as she could.”

He said the school handled the situation well, even though it “was kind of tough.”

“He was suspended immediately,” Bird said. “And the school sent a mass email to teachers and parents.”

An automated call-out system alerted parents of the situation via phone, and Superintendent Scott Paul notified faculty members, according to Bird.

“We didn’t want parents to panic,” he said. “We’re glad it turned out where no one got hurt.”

He said the juvenile had no history of this behavior. “From what I understand he’s a really good kid,” Bird said. “He was just emotionally overwhelmed.”

After his arrest, the juvenile was jailed in a detention facility, where he stayed on suicide watch through the weekend.

Bird said he appeared in court Monday, and he believed the juvenile received home incarceration and will undergo a psychological evaluation and treatment.

He also understood the juvenile is currently not enrolled at the school pending a school hearing.

Despite numerous attempts, Paul was unavailable for comment.

A press release received by the Times-Tribune Tuesday states, “School district officials will take action to expel this student if it is determined that the allegations regarding possession of a gun on campus are true.”