Student Charged With Having Gun at Hammond High

By Mary Otto
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 16, 2007

A 15-year-old Hammond High School student was arrested yesterday morning after a school police officer removed him from a classroom and found a loaded semiautomatic pistol in his waistband and ammunition in his pocket, Howard County police said.

The student, a freshman from Columbia who was not identified because of his age, was taken into custody by the school resource officer. No one was injured, police said.

The officer made the arrest after receiving at tip from a teacher. About 9:50 a.m., she told the officer that several students had come to her after overhearing the youth tell another student that he had a gun, police said.

Police, who continued to investigate the incident yesterday afternoon, said they were not certain of the teenager's motives.

"He may have been in a small dispute a couple of days ago with a couple of other kids, and he may have brought the gun to school for self-protection," said a police spokesman, Pfc. Jamie Myers. Investigators have not yet determined the ownership of the gun, Myers said.

Police and school officials praised the quick actions of the students, the teacher and the officer.

"They avoided what could have been a much more serious situation," said Howard County schools spokeswoman Patti Caplan.

The teen was charged with possession of a concealed deadly weapon and possession of a handgun on school property. He was committed to the Alfred D. Noyes Children's Center in Rockville yesterday afternoon after a hearing in Howard County Circuit Court.

He has been suspended and faces possible expulsion from school, Caplan said.

Caplan and Myers both said they think yesterday's firearms arrest was the first in the school system this school year, which ends Wednesday.

Howard schools do not have metal detectors, but in recent years, each high school has had an assigned school resource officer, Caplan said.

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