UPDATE (3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6): The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is releasing more details after a student was taken into custody for having a gun on a school bus this morning and a second teen was later taken into custody in connection to the incident.
According to Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger, a 15-year-old Ripley Middle School student took a handgun onto the school bus this morning, and during the course of the bus ride, another student became aware of the gun, secured the magazine from the 15-year-old and alerted the bus driver. The driver then stopped and evacuated the bus.
The bus was near Evans Elementary School at that time, but the elementary school was not involved in the incident.
The sheriff’s office and Ripley Police Department responded to the scene. Through the investigation, authorities learned the 15-year-old allegedly had one specific target that he planned to shoot. Mellinger says they also learned the student’s 16-year-old brother allegedly stole the gun from a neighbor and gave it to the 15-year-old. The sheriff says the teen intended to carry out the plan today, however, he could not confirm if the intended target was a student, employee or someone else.
“Given the totality of the circumstances, it certainly ended as well as it could have been,” Mellinger said. “But ultimately, given the circumstances at hand, it certainly was destined and headed toward a very tragic ending.”
Mellinger also praised the student who spoke up and alerted the bus driver that the 15-year-old had a gun on the bus, saying that because the student followed the “if you see something, say something” motto, they prevented the situation from escalating further.
“Truth be known, that student is a hero,” Mellinger said. “You know, a lot of students wouldn’t have spoken up, wouldn’t have done what they’ve done… Heroes are born everyday. In my mind, this particular student is nothing short of a hero and prevented a bad situation from becoming extremely tragic.”
According to Mellinger, this incident was the closest they have come, since he can recall, to an incident like this happening, had the student not stepped in, it could have ended in tragedy.
“Fortunately the stars aligned just right, and everyone gets to go home safe today,” Mellinger said.
UPDATE (11:35 a.m. on Wednesday, April 6): The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that two teenagers are in custody after a gun was confiscated.
The two teens are brothers.
Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger says that there was a specific target.
We will provide updates as more information becomes available.
UPDATE (9:10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 6): Jackson County Schools has released a statement regarding the incident.
They say that Wednesday morning, school officials notified the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department of a report of a weapon in a student’s backpack while on a school bus.
They say that students were safely removed from the bus and that law enforcement gained possession of the firearm, magazine and ammunition. Deputies now have the student in custody, and they will conduct an investigation.
Jackson County Schools say that students are trained to report safety concerns to school officials or an adult.
“The training of see something, say something certainly has paid off today,” said Superintendent Blaine Hess. “We train and rely on our students and staff to be alert to potential safety threats. This situation is an example of that training working as intended. I appreciate the quick response of school administrators and our Sheriff’s Department to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
The release said that schools are operating normally at this time.
JACKSON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — A 15-year-old student is in custody after a gun was found on a school bus in Jackson County Wednesday morning.
According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a county elementary school after reports of a handgun on a school bus. Deputies secured the firearm, magazine, and ammunition.
This is a developing story. We’ll keep you updated on air and online.