One day after a Florida school shooting left 17 dead, students in at least four states — Texas, Maryland, Alabama, and Georgia — were arrested for bringing guns to their campuses. Other students face charges for social media posts that stated they want to shoot up their schools, according to multiple published sources.
The reports rolled in even as communities everywhere were still reeling from the news of the mass shooting on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Nikolas Cruz, 19, was arrested after allegedly firing a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle at students in classrooms and hallways at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He faces 17 counts of premeditated murder, one for each person killed. He is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail. Cruz, who was previously expelled from the school, arrived at the campus in an Uber car and then opened fire, reports said.
Campus resource officers, police, and students were praised for being alert and taking quick action before anyone was injured on Thursday. In virtually all of the cases, it was not immediately clear why students brought the guns to school.
What did students do near Dallas?
In the Dallas area, three high school students were arrested for bringing guns to their schools on Thursday, The Dallas Morning News reported. The incidents happened at high schools in Flower Mound, Plano, and Garland.
At South Garland High School, a school resource officer and a principal confronted 19-year-old Kerry Guery after another student accused Guery of stealing a cellphone, according to the report. The phone, an unloaded handgun and marijuana were allegedly discovered in Guery's backpack. He now faces multiple charges.
In the other cases reported by the News, a 16-year-old was arrested at Edward S. Marcus High School in Flower Mound after school resource officers discovered the student had an unloaded, small-caliber handgun and ammunition. They made the discovery following a tip from another student.
And while following up on a Crime Stoppers lead, a school resource officer at Plano West Senior High School took a juvenile with a handgun into custody.
Also, a 13-year-old Arlington student was arrested for threatening to open fire on a junior high school, according to the report. No weapon was found.
"I don’t quite understand it, especially in the climate we’re facing today,” David Tilley, a spokesman for the Plano Police Department, told the Dallas Morning News. “It’s a disturbing trend that is taking place, and if these kids think that it’s funny to bring a gun to school even if they have no intent of using it ... they’re finding out it’s not that funny."
What happened in Maryland?
In Clarksburg, Maryland, Alwin Chen, 18, was arrested Thursday on three charges for allegedly bringing a loaded 9 mm handgun and a knife to Clarksburg High School.
According to published reports, a school resource officer received a tip that Chen brought a gun to school. The resource officer and a security employee pulled Chen out of class and took him to a school office to question him. When asked if he was carrying a weapon, Chen allegedly admitted he had a knife in his front shirt pocket and a handgun in his book bag.
Chen was arrested after the weapons were confiscated.
Parents stormed a PTSA meeting Thursday night to question school leaders about how this could happen, WTTG/WDCA-TV reported. One parent suggested that students be searched for weapons before entering their school.
Also in Maryland, a 14-year-old student at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore was arrested after he brought a pellet gun to school, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Students hid in their classroom and parents raced to the school, as the campus was placed on lockdown and police searched the building, according to the Sun.
The student, whose name was withheld, had shown the pellet gun to another student, the report said. A school resource officer launched the investigation following a tip Thursday morning that a student had a gun concealed in his backpack.
Where did students bring guns to school in Alabama?
Two Alabama students were also arrested Thursday for allegedly bringing guns to their schools, AL.com reported.
Calvareous Wallace, 18, was charged Thursday with possession of a concealed weapon without a permit for allegedly bringing a gun to Talladega High School.
"This morning, a student at Talladega High School was observed exhibiting suspicious behavior,'' Talladega City Schools Superintendent Terry L. Roller said in a statement. "His backpack was searched, and a gun was discovered."
Also, a Fairhope Middle School student was taken into police custody Thursday after another student reported seeing a gun at the school, Baldwin County Schools officials told AL.com.
What was reported in Georgia?
In Gwinnet County, Georgia, a student was taken into custody after allegedly bringing a handgun to school and keeping it in his locker, police told WXIA-TV. Two students tipped off school leaders that another student had the handgun, according to the report.
What about threats against schools?
Given the current climate, schools are also cracking down on threats made on social media. In addition to the Dallas incident, students in Arkansas and Florida were taken into custody for saying on social media that they wanted to shoot up their schools.
On Friday morning in Florida, a 20-year-old was arrested in Daytona Beach for making threats toward a Mainland High School on social media, the Bradenton Herald reported. Also Friday morning, a Fayetteville High School student in Little Rock, Arkansas, was arrested for making a threat on to “shoot up the high school like they did in Florida,” KTHV-TV reported. The student was taken to the Washington County Juvenile Detention Center, according to the report.
Additionally, an Arkansas student in the Star City School District in Star City and another student at Berryville Middle School in Berryville were taken into juvenile custody after making similar threats on social media about opening fire on their schools, KATV reported.
School leaders and police reminded students, teachers, and parents and others to remain alert and report anything suspicious to law enforcement. Some of the students' names were withheld due to their ages.