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Cops and Courts

Teen held in school pellet gun incident

  • 121015-ELYRIASCHOOLS-KB03

    Police say a 14-year-old brought a pellet gun to Eastern Heights Middle School, shown here in a 2015 file photo.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE FILE

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ELYRIA — A 14-year-old boy is in police custody after allegedly bringing a pellet gun to Eastern Heights Middle School on Wednesday and making threats to shoot staff and students.

Though the student allegedly made threats, nobody was harmed, according to Elyria Schools and the Elyria Police Department.

The boy, who is being held in the Lorain County Juvenile Detention Home pending a Juvenile Court hearing, is charged with one count each of inducing panic, a second-degree felony, making terroristic threats, a third-degree felony, and burglary, a fourth-degree felony.

The latter charge is for allegedly breaking into a vacant residence in the 1100 block of Melvyn Lane where he was found and arrested by detectives shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday, Elyria police said.

Voicemail calls were made to inform families about the incident Wednesday and Thursday. The first voicemail robocall was sent to families at Eastern Heights Middle School about 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, according to spokeswoman Amy Higgins. A second call was sent about 9 a.m. Thursday. Voice messages were sent to the entire school district starting about 6 p.m. Thursday.

Elyria police said the incident started at about 2 p.m. Wednesday when officers were dispatched to Eastern Heights Middle School at 528 Garford Ave. for a report of a student possibly being armed with a weapon.

The student ran from the school at dismissal time after being confronted about the rumors he had a weapon and being told police were on their way to the school to speak with him, Elyria police said.

School administrators told officers that staff and students alike said the boy “was bragging about being in possession of a handgun,” and “that this student made threats regarding using the handgun on staff and students at the school,” though no specific names were mentioned, Elyria Police spokesman Capt. Chris Costantino said in a news release.

Officers couldn’t find the boy at the school or his home, but a Harvard Avenue homeowner reported finding a pellet gun in a garbage can and the gun was recovered as evidence by police.

The boy was found Thursday morning and taken into custody without incident, Elyria police said. He admitted that he had the pellet gun with him at the school, said he disposed of it in a garbage can on Harvard Avenue and also admitted making threats to staff and students, according to Elyria police.

The student also is expected to face discipline from the Elyria Schools based on his alleged actions, police said.

Elyria Schools spokeswoman Amy Higgins said the district sent robocalls to parents of Eastern Heights Middle School students informing them first of the incident, then that the student was not in school Thursday “and would not be in school and was in police custody.”

“As soon as the rumor was brought to the school principal’s attention, they were on top of that,” Higgins said.

Police and the schools commended the students “who came forward with information regarding this incident,” Costantino said. “With their assistance, this incident was concluded without harm to any of the parties involved. Please remember — see something, say something.”

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.
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