A University of South Carolina freshman was arrested Tuesday after police found a cache of handguns in his dorm on the Columbia campus.
Trevor Scott Stephens, 17, of Walterboro was charged with possession of a firearm on a school campus after university police found five handguns in his dorm room, according to an arrest warrant issued by the USC Police Department. He has been suspended by the university, banned from campus and ordered to avoid contact with any students, faculty or staff, said Scott Prill, associate director of the USC Division of Law Enforcement and Safety.
“We have no reason to believe he was planning an attack, and we have not heard that he was threatening anyone,” Prill said.
Stephens was released Wednesday afternoon from the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on a $20,000 bond. He has returned home to stay with his parents, Prill said. The freshman faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. S.C. law makes it a felony to carry a weapon onto a school property without permission.
Freshmen began moving into campus housing Friday. Classes start today.
University police received a report about a student with a gun in his room about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday from a staff member of the Maxcy College residence hall, Prill said. A resident had told the staff member that a fellow student may have guns in his room in the dorm, which is across Greene Street from the Russell House student union and the Thomas Cooper Library.
Officers found Stephens and frisked him, discovering a pocket knife, according to an incident report. They read Stephens his rights and asked if he had any illegal weapons in his room.
“He said that he had a pair of brass knuckles,” Prill said.
Upon further questioning, Stephens admitted that he had guns. He then signed a form consenting to a search.
Police found five handguns and the brass knuckles in a green bag in Stephens’ closet:
Each of the guns had serial numbers and, according to a federal database, had not been reported stolen or used during the commission of a crime, Prill said. Police are investigating how and when Stephens obtained the weapons because it is illegal for anyone younger than 18 to possess firearms, he said.
Police seized other items that Prill would not disclose, saying the investigation was ongoing.
All incoming students are warned about bringing guns and other weapons onto campus, Prill said. And, students are advised to report weapons to authorities, which is what happened in this case.
Maxcy College residence hall was renovated this summer, and the university opened the Carolina International House there. There, 180 American and internationals students share ideas, cultures and cuisines, according to a USC press release issued earlier this month.