Juvenile brings gun to VJHS

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A juvenile who brought a gun to Vicksburg Junior High School on Tuesday was detained shortly after school began.

School district and law enforcement officials said the situation was handled quickly within the policies and procedures of the district.

Superintendent Chad Shealy said he could not comment directly on the case, but confirmed that a weapon was brought on campus.

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“The incident was reported that a weapon was brought to school,” Shealy said. “The investigation was turned over to the proper authorities and we’re awaiting the results of that investigation.”

Any disciplinary actions will depend on the outcome of the investigation, Shealy said.

“We have five resource officers and all are trained to be alert of any threats,” district safety coordinator Dwayne Sims, said previously.

Sims has stated one of the best ways they have been able to address these threats is by maintaining a strong working relationship with the Vicksburg Police Department and Warren County Sheriff’s Department.

Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong said the VPD was called to the scene, but is not investigating the case.

Sims noted that, per Mississippi Department of Education regulations, all five officers must attend forty hours of training each year and are continually updated with emerging trends and threats to school safety.

According to the junior-high level handbook for the VWSD, possession of a firearm is a level four offense, the highest in the district.

Level four offenses, which include sexual assault, sale of narcotics or carrying other deadly weapons on campus, results in an automatic 10-day suspension and recommendation for expulsion.

Tuesday’s incident was the first this year in which a student has had a firearm on campus.

On March 5, a 17-year-old juvenile was arrested and charged in Warren County Youth Court for calling in a bomb threat to Vicksburg High School. Two weeks prior, VHS was evacuated.

In November, Michael Jones, 18, of Lee Circle, pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon on educational property and was sentenced to a year in prison followed by two years’ probation and a $1,000 fine.

He was arrested Feb. 20, 2013, at VHS after a school resource officer found a .25-caliber Raven semiautomatic pistol in Jones’ front pocket.

The SRO wrote in an incident report than an anonymous tip from a parent saying Jones had brass knuckles led to the gun’s discovery.

On Jan. 15, 2013, an 11-year-old Vicksburg Intermediate School student was suspended after taking an inert hand grenade to school.

Anyone with information about a potential crime within one of the schools is encouraged to call the Vicksburg Police Department at 601-636-2511 or the Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers at 601-355-8477.

Callers to Crime Stoppers remain anonymous and do not have to testify in court. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of a felony suspect.