Investigation into online threat led to discovery of weapon
The Union Public Safety Department released more details on the incident involving the pistol found on school property on Monday. Principal Kevin Farmer alerted SRO Shaver on Monday about a threatening post that was made on Instagram over the weekend.
The mother of a student alerted the administration to the post, which was a picture of an AR rifle in the front seat of a vehicle with a caption referencing a student in a threatening manner. The parent provided Farmer with a copy of the post. Shaver told Farmer that since the victim of the threat lives in the county and the threat didn’t happen in the school day, he didn’t have jurisdiction and advised Farmer to have the mother contact the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant principal Karen Petty told Shaver she would talk to the parties involved to ensure the safety of all students and to make sure that nothing started while they were at school. Petty spoke with a female student to see if she knew who made the post. The girl told Petty that two other people had something to do with it. Petty asked Shaver to sit in while she spoke with the two students, as the two had been involved in a fight last year at the high school.
Petty called the first female student out of class to question her about the post. She told Petty that she did make the post, but that she was sent it by another student, and she liked it so she posted it to one of her Instagram pages. Petty asked the girl how she got to school, and she stated her grandmother dropped her off. Petty told her that due to the nature of the post and to ensure the safety of everyone involved, she would be searching the student’s bookbag. The search revealed no weapons.
Petty sent the girl back to class and returned with the other female student. After questioning her, the student admitted to Petty and Shaver that she did send the picture, but it was a BB gun that belonged to her brother. She also said she didn’t put the caption on the picture. She stated she drove her mother’s car to school. Petty told her she would have to search her bookbag and her car for weapons due to the nature of the Instagram post and to ensure everyone’s safety. Nothing was found in the bookbag. Petty and Tee Farr, another assistant principal at the school, went to the student parking lot. The girl showed them her car, and Petty and Farr conducted an administrative search of the vehicle. During the search, they found a loaded PT 111 Millennium Taurus 9mm. Petty gave the gun to Farr, who cleared the weapon. It had one 9mm round in the chamber, with a magazine that had 11 additional 9mm rounds. Farr then handed the weapon to SRO Shaver.
The student told Shaver the gun belonged to her father. Shaver told her she would be charged with carrying a weapon onto school property. He contacted Sgt. Hood to arrange for the girl to be transported to Union Public Safety Headquarters. Shaver went to headquarters and completed the juvenile complaint form. He released the girl to her mother’s custody, explaining the incident and the required court appearances and the charge. The gun, magazine, and 9mm rounds were logged into evidence and placed in the evidence drop box at Union Public Safety Headquarters.