Gun at SP

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 30, 2011

Police allege four students passed around handgun

What happened:
Four SPHS students arrested for passing around a handgun.
What happens next:
Students will appear in youth court and suspension could last one calendar year.

By Rupert Howell

Four South Panola High School students were arrested Wednesday following a tip and investigation leading to the recovery of a handgun on school grounds.

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Batesville Police Department Lieutenant Robert Ales said student resource officers from BPD and school administrators worked together to identify students responsible and recover the gun that was found in one of the student’s backpacks after the student admitted to school principal Tim Fowler that he was in possession of the firearm.

School Resource Officer Mark Lott received the tip according to Ales who said the initial investigation went from 12:30 to 3:30 Wednesday afternoon from start to finish.

“Each (student arrested) had possession of the weapon during the day,” Ales said later Wednesday afternoon.

Police Chief Tony Jones said the reason for the student having the gun and how the gun was obtained by a juvenile is still under investigation.

Along with the .45 caliber High Point semi-automatic were three cartridges which were found separately from the pistol according to police officials. The juveniles’ ages ranged from 14 through 17, three were males.

Ales said the juveniles would spend 48 hours in detention at a facility in Greenwood then return for a session with the youth court counselor before a youth court hearing.

Jones said late Wednesday that he was just glad no one got hurt and commended SRO officers and school administrators for their cooperation.

Ales, who along with Sgt. Denver Donahou assisted SRO officers Lott and Shenika Hudson, said the school principal as well as Leslie Busby and Lorenzo Grimes were to be commended for their assistance.

Although well aware of the incident, school superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer had yet to hear from school administrators concerning their investigation results later Wednesday but acknowledged that punishment for having a weapon at school was up to a 12-calendar-month suspension.