Friday, June 18, 2004

GAINESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Police arrested both a 12-year-old student they say brought two rifles and a shotgun into a Prince William County school yesterday and a school employee accused of failing to report the student to school officials.

No shots were fired and no one was hurt, but about 1,100 students were evacuated from Bull Run Middle School, county police said. It was supposed to be the last day of classes at the school.

Police said an assistant principal making his morning rounds found the boy in a bathroom.

“The assistant principal’s very tall, and he looked over the stall and he observed … a weapon,” county Police Chief Charlie T. Deane said. “Subsequently, other weapons were found in that general area.”

The assistant principal left the bathroom, called police, and began what Chief Deane described as “a very methodical evacuation” of the building.

“All of a sudden [teachers] told us to start running down the hill, and we were all scared,” student Tyler Stewartson said.

Officers arrived and arrested the boy, who was dressed in full camouflage gear, Chief Deane said.

“There’s some information that he may have been trying to frighten people who had been picking on him, or something, during the year,” Chief Deane said.

Police were still investigating where the unidentified boy got the guns and how they were brought into the school.

Police were holding a woman who works at the school who they said knew there were guns on school grounds, but remained silent.

As many as 10 other students were questioned about whether they knew in advance of a plan to bring guns to school.

Students were evacuated to nearby Tyler Elementary School, where parents were told to pick them up.

“It’s just absolutely shocking. The first thing that goes through your mind is ‘Please, God, don’t let it be my child,’ because we thought someone was injured,” parent Jane Luke said.

Bull Run planned to open today and Monday so students could meet with grief counselors and pick up their belongings.

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