COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Richland County high school student took a stolen, loaded gun to school on Monday, according to the Richland County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies say a school resource officer (SRO) at Richland Northeast High School was notified by school administrators that they had located a gun in the student’s backpack on Monday.
The SRO immediately took possession of the gun, which he determined to be stolen, according to officials.
Deputies say the student was taken into custody and charged accordingly.
Richland Northeast High School principal Mark Simms sent a message to parents that detailed the events.
"This is Principal Mark Sims calling with an important message.
This afternoon a loaded weapon was found in a student’s book bag. A group of students who left campus without permission were stopped by school administrators when they returned to campus. Due to the smell of smoke, the students’ belongings were searched. During that search an administrator observed the weapon in a bookbag. One of our School Resource Officers responded immediately and took possession of the weapon.
The 17-year-old is charged with possession of a firearm on school property, possession of a pistol under the age of 18, possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful carry of a handgun.
So far in the investigation, we do not have any evidence to indicate that the student threatened to harm anyone at school.
School administrators and our SROs followed district procedures and board policy in administering disciplinary and legal consequences. Students should never bring weapons onto school grounds and they face serious consequences when they do.
I am extremely disheartened that this is the second time a weapon has been brought on our campus this school year. Please know school and district administrators are exploring all options when it comes to school safety. However, it is absolutely critical that our communities help prevent students from gaining access to weapons. We must all work together to keep Richland Northeast High a safe place for all of our students, employees and visitors."
Officials say there’s no evidence that any other students were presented or threatened with the gun.