A 16-year-old student from Dysart High School was arrested Tuesday for carrying a loaded .25-caliber handgun to school and for making threats to a 14-year-old student, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.
MCSO was alerted after the 14-year-old's mother told deputies her son was threatened at the school bus stop earlier that morning by the 16-year-old suspect. The suspect showed the victim a gun and said he was going to kill him, the sheriff's office said.
After being questioned by deputies, the 16-year-old admitted to bringing the gun on the bus and to school, MCSO authorities said.
The unidentified juvenile was arrested and charged with four felonies that include aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
"He said he was going to defend himself from the 14-year-old kid," Sheriff Joe Arpaio told us. There's another twist; deputies say the gun that the 16-year-old had was owned by the 14-year-old's family.
"We don't know how the 16-year-old got the gun, whether he stole the gun or what have you," Arpaio said.
"It can happen in any school, it doesn't matter the area of the Valley you're in, it can happen," said Katherine Venable, a concerned parent.
"That's my life, you know, in danger, and anybody else that goes to this school, that's their life in danger, too, you know," said Dysart High sophomore Jasmine Moss.
"I was surprised, I wouldn't think a lot of kids that would have that mindset," said Dysart High senior Demare Burgess.
The Dysart Unified School District tells us the high school has six security guards and one armed security resource officer, but that they'll take a second look at their procedures. The school's handbook says if a student brings a gun to school, they face expulsion.
The district issued the following statement in the wake of the incident:
"Dysart High School is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment for all of our students. The safest schools are the ones where parents, students, staff and community members work in partnership to identify and resolve situations that could impact the safety of the campus. Yesterday an incident was discovered after school that required police assistance.
"Yesterday after school it was reported that a student had brought a weapon to school. Upon investigation by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, the report proved to be accurate. The police department apprehended the student responsible, off campus, and completed their investigation in a timely manner.
"Dysart High School worked cooperatively with the police department to ensure the safety and well being of all students. All responding organizations did an excellent job of working together with Dysart staff in handling this situation."
Arpaio also commented by saying, "This is the third recent incident where my deputies have investigated school violence. It is exactly why I am providing active-shooter training for members of my school posse patrol program this weekend, and why I sent out the armed posse in the first place. We will continue to be vigilant in order to protect the schools."
The school responded to a CBS 5 News inquiry by stating,"Regarding the procedure when a student is not in class, all schools follow state required attendance procedures; however, if a staff member is particularly concerned about a student''s absence, the administration can request the local police department conduct a welfare check. The attendance procedures for all absent students were followed on the day of question."
Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.
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