Student Cited With Misdemeanor (For Now) For Air Gun In School

By: Ann McIntire Email
By: Ann McIntire Email

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov is waiting on full reports from Wednesday's incident at Bellevue East High School before deciding whether a teenager who allegedly brought an air pistol into the building should be charged with a felony.

Polikov told Channel 6 News the 16-year-old suspect is now under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court. He has been cited for making terroristic threats and disturbing the peace. Polikov must decide if there is evidence he actually threatened anyone inside the building.

Polikov described the teen as troubled, calling his actions "foolish" and said “something needs to be done about it.”

"There is prior juvenile history," said Sarpy County Chief Deputy Attorney Tricia Freeman. "We have nothing that would suggest a criminal history. In other words, when you say criminal I think adult, so I don't have anything like that."

Airsoft pistols are replica firearms that fire plastic pellets by way of compressed gas or electric and/or spring-driven pistons. Police say it looked real. "I would say that comparison is striking and it's obviously very concerning," said Freeman. The school was evacuated. No one was hurt.

The school district says certain procedures will be reviewed. For instance, the incident took place around 4:15 p.m. when classes were over and most students still on campus were at practice for different sports. So having students in the locker room or practice areas made it difficult to account for everyone once they were evacuated.

"They promptly then came to the office and made the report and that helped us get things going quickly,” said Bellevue Schools Superintendent Frank Harwood. “The staff and students that were there after school were great to work with, very cooperative. The students and the staff understood that it was a very serious situation, there was no questioning when they were asked to do things, they complied very quickly, were really concerned about everybody being safe."

Still a lot of unanswered questions about what happened. Was the student simply showing the gun off to his friends or was he actually threatening someone with the gun? Polikov won't say at this time as his office decides whether to file charges as an adult or a juvenile. A decision is expected by next week.

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