The youth charged with bringing a gun onto Greenup County High School grounds before a football game Friday bought the weapon from an Ohio man he contacted on the Internet, Greenup County Sheriff Keith Cooper said.
Cooper has interviewed the man, but on Monday afternoon was not sure whether he would face any charges.
The man contacted authorities after seeing a newspaper story Sunday, Cooper said. “He saw the story and had one of those “oh s---” moments,” he said.
The 15-year-old, a student at Greenup County High, never pulled the gun, but instead showed it to other students about two hours before Friday night’s homecoming game with Johnson Central, said district safe schools coordinator Scarlet Shoemaker.
He surrendered the weapon and ammunition to school officials with no dispute, Shoemaker said.
The incident happened around 5 p.m., when few people were on campus other than ballplayers and coaches, she said. The boy lifted up his shirt, showed the loaded 9mm automatic pistol to some of the players and asked them not to tell anyone.
The players told coaches, who took them and other players to the locker room and locked it down, Shoemaker said. Assistant coach Lance Warnock spoke to the boy and persuaded him to turn over a bag with ammunition, and other school officials got him to hand over the gun, she said.
The incident happened on school grounds but outside the stadium, she said.
School official notified all parents by email and phone and administrators were to meet with students in groups to review the incident and talk about school policies. “They will commend the kids who did the right thing (in reporting the gun), and review the correct procedure, which is if you see something, say something,” she said. “And also that if you bring a gun you’re going to get caught.”
Cooper said he was hoping to question the boy again Monday, but was unsure if his attorney would allow it. In an initial interview, “he said he just wanted to look cool,” Cooper said.
The incident appears to be isolated and a case of poor judgment, he said. However, because the gun was on school grounds, it is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison for adult offenders.
Friday’s game went on without incident, Shoemaker said.
MIKE JAMES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2652.