Harrison student charged with criminal endangerment after guns found in backpack

A 14-year-old Harrison student was arrested Friday afternoon and charged with criminal endangerment after he was found to be in possession of two handguns on school property.

According to a statement issued Sunday by the Harrison School District Superintendent Fred Hofman was approached by a female student shortly after 3:00 p.m. who claimed that she had heard another student was carrying a gun in his backpack. Hofman and school staff reacted to the information quickly and efforts were made to locate the student immediately.

Because classes had already been released for the rest of the day, students were in the process of preparing for Friday night’s basketball games against Lima and Cardwell. Members of the community were already beginning to arrive in anticipation on the evening’s matchup, and Hofman said in the press release that because of these circumstances the situation did not allow for any lockdown procedures to be used.

School staff soon learned that the student had left the property to walk a few blocks down the street to the store, and a staff member notified Hofman via text message when the student was spotted returning to campus. Hofman confronted the student as he attempted to reenter the building and secured his backpack, which the student had left outside, before escorting him inside to the office.

Once the student was in custody in the school office he admitted to Hofman that he did in fact have two handguns in his backpack, one of which was a loaded .357 Magnum and the other a .22 caliber revolver. Harrison High School teacher and freshman class advisor Josh Kelton assisted Hofman by unloading the firearm, and assistant principal Sheri Heavrin called local authorities and the student’s parents.

The student was then taken into custody by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and was cooperative throughout the process, the press release said. Madison County Attorney Chris Christensen said on Monday the student was charged with criminal endangerment in youth court.

“The school will handle the matter in accordance with school policy and will do what is necessary to protect our students,” Hofman said in the press release.

“I could not be more proud of the student who had the courage to come forward with the information or more proud of my staff, who remained calm and worked together without creating panic to secure the situation quickly and keep the community members and students in the school, safe.” said Hofman.

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