Student totes gun to school

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 19, 2007


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The St. John Sheriff’s Office arrested a 16-year-old LaPlace youth for taking a loaded 9mm handgun with him to St. Charles Catholic High School on Wednesday.

School staff members allegedly tracked down the teenager shortly after another student told a teacher that the 16-year-old was carrying a pistol. They detained the juvenile at 1:30 p.m. without incident and acted appropriately, according to the St. John Sheriff’s Office. Once caught, the student admitted to having the pistol in his backpack.

School administration called the St. John Sheriff’s Office after detaining the student and taking the pistol from his backpack. Police took him into custody and seized the gun as evidence.

The student was booked with possession of a dangerous weapon on school premises and illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile, according to the St. John Sheriff’s Office. He is being held at the St. James Juvenile Detention Center, the only facility for juveniles in the River Parish area.

St. John Sheriff’s officials are investigating where the student got the gun and his reasons for having it at the school.

&#8220No student was threatened,” Father Maestri of the Archdiocese of New Orleans said. &#8220We’re turning it over to the authorities. We believe the incident was handled properly by the principal in confronting the student. We certainly wanted to get the civil authorities involved because this is also a legal matter, and a safety issue. We are proceeding along that line.”

&#8220I think that students acted very responsibly in reporting it to the principal, Mr. Cupit,” Maestri said. &#8220He acted very quickly and responsibly in securing the weapon and also acted very responsibly in contacting the civil authorities as indeed should be done. It indicates that we were very active in our handling this particular situation because certainly we do not want weapons in schools. That’s totally unacceptable.”

&#8220If it wasn’t for school members acting as quickly as they did, who knows how it may have turned out,” said Maj. Mike Tregre of the St. John Sheriff’s Office. &#8220They performed their duties in a safe, quick fashion. They did a very good job.”