Questions remain about Selma High lockdown

Published 9:47 am Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friday, the two Selma High School students held in connection with bringing a loaded handgun onto school campus Thursday, faced District Court Judge Bob Armstrong.

Following the hearing, one juvenile was released, while another will likely spend the holidays held in juvenile detention.

According to District Attorney Michael Jackson, the 15-year-old male, whose backpack is where authorities found a .380 chrome-plated, loaded handgun Thursday afternoon, was released, while the 17-year-old male was placed back in to juvenile detention.

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But while the two were in court to face their charges and answer more questions, the answers to what happened Thursday remain unclear or non-existent.

Lt. Johnny King with the Selma Police Department said Friday the department — in its investigation — said the juveniles denied possession of the handgun but did admit they went through metal detectors Thursday.

“At this point, we are continuing to investigate what happened,” King said. “There really isn’t a whole lot that is new today.”

King did say it is curious how the gun was able to make its way on campus when the suspects said they were screened Thursday morning. So how did the handgun make its way on campus?

“That’s a very good question indeed,” King said. “Something doesn’t add up. The juveniles admit to being screened but not bringing the gun onto campus. Where did the gun come from?”

According to reports, at 2:51 p.m. Thursday, a teacher observed what appeared to be a handgun in a student’s backpack and alerted school administrators, who then instituted a school-wide lockdown and alerted police.

After the school was locked down, Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley said school officials worked with the onsite Selma Police officer and located the student who was believed to have had the handgun.

“At that time, they did find a juvenile with a handgun in his backpack,” Riley said. “We also were led to another student who also had — at points during the day — had possession of the gun.”

It also appears the students did more than just bring a weapon onto school grounds.

“Further investigation revealed that the 17-year-old juvenile did in fact point and threaten another student inside the school earlier in the day with the weapon,” Riley said. “The 17-year-old will face an additional charge of menacing with a firearm.”

King said it was this possible act of pointing the handgun at another student that led the 17-year-old being detained longer.

King also said the personnel that is responsible for handling the metal detectors at the Selma High School student entrance are employees or contractors with the Selma City School Board, not personnel with the City of Selma or the Selma Police Department.

Thursday, Selma City School Board president Henry Hicks Sr. said he was hoping an emergency meeting could be called for Monday to discuss the state of security at the new Selma High School.

On Friday, the Times-Journal learned no such meeting had been organized.