Police arrested a 15-year-old student in Phoenix on Friday after he reportedly brought an AR-15 and bullets to school.
The student is facing “serious felony charges” after he allegedly brought the semi-automatic rifle to Bostrom High School. According to a news release from the Phoenix Police Department, the rifle was used in 12 of the 21 deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. since 2006. The student was arrested in the main office around 1 p.m. on Friday.
The police department says that authorities also found more weapons in the student’s backpack and lunch box.
Donna Rossi, who is in charge of communications for the Phoenix police, told NBC News that “others on campus” told school officials that “the student may have a gun.”
A representative for the Phoenix Union High School District said in a statement that the school’s administrators found out about the possible weapon during lunch.
“As soon as school officials heard about the possible gun on campus,” Rossi said, “the school went into lockdown.”
When school officials looked into the possible weapon, they “found that the report was true, and local authorities stepped in and took the weapon,” according to a statement from the school district.
The student was taken to juvenile jail and charged with “minor in possession of a firearm, carrying a weapon on school grounds, interfering with an educational institution, and other weapon-related charges,” Rossi said.
The student is still in police custody, and the school and district officials, as well as the police department’s crime gun intelligence unit, are investigating, according to a news release from Phoenix police, who have not named the student in public.
The tweet below verifies the news:
“We applaud those who first told adults on campus that there might be a weapon on school grounds, and those adults called the police right away,” the police department said in a statement.
It wasn’t clear right away who called the police about the student, how the student got the gun and ammunition, how long he could go to jail if he was found guilty, or if his guardians could be charged. Representatives from the school board and the police did not answer these questions.
In a statement, the school system said, “We are grateful to those who told trusted adults about this incident.”
“As always, the safety and well-being of our staff, students, and visitors remain our top priority, and we will work with law enforcement as they continue to investigate,” the statement said.
In a letter sent to parents on Sunday, school officials said that “out of an abundance of caution,” extra safety measures would be put in place on Monday and that bags would not be allowed on campus this week. The letter also says that on Monday night, officials will meet with parents in the school canteen.
“We know how bad this situation is and how much fear and worry it is causing our students and staff,” the letter said. It also said that students and staff would have “social and emotional support at school.”
Rossi and Sergeant Robert Scherer from the police department emailed the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the Juvenile Department of the Maricopa County Superior Court with more questions about the student’s bail status when he is next due in court, and the possible sentence he could get if he is found guilty. They did not immediately respond to the questions.
The school district calls Bostrom High School an “alternative center” that offers a “small school environment that focuses on student-centered learning while also supporting the whole student.”
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a non-profit group that supports gun control, says that Arizona does not ban semi-automatic rifles. However, children cannot buy or own a gun without written permission from a parent or guardian.
According to the Giffords Law Center, guns are also not allowed on school grounds unless they are carried by people who are allowed to do so or are used in approved school programs.
The Phoenix shooting happened just a few days after an 18-year-old shooter in New Mexico killed three senior women with three guns, including an AR-15. The victims were Shirley Voita, 79, Melody Ivie, 73, and Gwendolyn Schofield, 97. On Monday, after his killing spree, the shooter was killed by cops.
As there have been more and more mass shootings, there have been more and more calls to limit the sales of semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15, which was made for the military and is now made by many different companies under different names.
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Since AR-15s can shoot bullets quickly, it is known that they can do a lot of damage to a person’s body and are more likely to kill than other guns.
The Associated Press says that Washington state banned semiautomatic weapons last month, making it the ninth state and Washington, D.C., to do so. Due to the rise in mass shootings, President Joe Biden has asked for a ban on semi-automatic weapons across the country.
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