Sumter High student arrested after handgun found in book bag

The (Sumter) ItemSeptember 5, 2013 

— A Sumter High School junior, who police say had a stolen handgun in his book bag, was arrested on campus Thursday afternoon.

Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark confirmed the student, a 16-year-old male, was arrested on the campus grounds while school was in session. According to Roark, officers assigned to the school were checking into an unrelated incident when they received information that the student was in possession of the weapon.

Upon searching, officers said they found a .45-caliber handgun inside the student's backpack. While the gun itself was not loaded, there was a loaded magazine found in the bag as well. In addition, police said a records check of the handgun's serial number revealed the gun had been reported stolen last week from Richland County.

The suspect was taken into custody and charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol, possession of a firearm on school property, minor in possession of a handgun and possession of a stolen firearm. He is currently being held at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Columbia, pending a detention hearing.

Sumter School District spokeswoman Shelly Galloway said the student will also receive disciplinary action in accordance with the Sumter School District Code of Conduct. "Sumter School District has a zero-tolerance policy for weapons," Galloway said.

Thursday's arrest marks the second time this week that Sumter High students have been have been arrested by police on serious crime charges. On Tuesday, two of the school's varsity team football players were arrested on second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy charges after a three-month investigation by police.

Because of the significant penalty the sexual assault charge brings with it — up to 20 years in jail — those two students, also both 16-year-old males, were automatically charged as adults, and their names were released by authorities.

Any decision on whether to charge Thursday's handgun suspect as an adult, however, would have to be made by a family court judge. Because of this, the identity of the student arrested Thursday has not been released.

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service