Gun goes off in Dublin High classroom

A 15-year-old Dublin High School student took a 9mm handgun to school, and it fired in a classroom Monday, police and school officials said.

When the weapon discharged, a piece of the bullet hit another student’s leg, badly bruising it, Dublin Police Chief Wayne Cain said. The student was not seriously injured.

Cain said the teen had been in an off-campus argument during the weekend with other Dublin High students.

“He says that he was afraid of being jumped at school, and he brought it for self-protection,” the police chief said.

The 15-year-old, Cain said, was moving the weapon from his waistband to his backpack when it went off.

Cain’s account differs from that of School Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter, who said “a student brought a gun in a book bag. He walks into class, drops the bag on the floor. The gun discharged into the floor.”

Ledbetter did not return a phone call late Monday to discuss the discrepancies between his and Cain’s accounts.

The incident happened about 1 p.m., and the school was locked down until about 2:30 p.m., Ledbetter said. Dismissal is at 3:35 p.m.

Cain said a bullet fragment ricocheted off the floor, striking the leg of a 17-year-old student but apparently never penetrating his clothing.

“Extremely lucky,” he said.

Ledbetter said an ambulance was called, but the victim and his family declined medical treatment.

Cain said the 15-year-old, whose name was not released, was arrested and charged with having a firearm on campus. He was being detained Monday at a Youth Detention Center pending a hearing. Further charges may come as the investigation continues, Cain said.

The handgun belongs to a family member, Cain said. He didn’t know whether it came from the 15-year-old’s house or whether it had been insecurely stored.

In November, a Dublin Middle School student reported a gun at that school. Officers found a loaded handgun in an eighth-grade student’s backpack.

Ledbetter said officials were meeting Monday afternoon to discuss better procedures for Dublin High School to prevent similar problems.

“We take it very seriously, obviously, and we want to make sure not only that our students are safe but feel safe,” he said Monday. “We’re going to do some things differently tomorrow morning.”

Information from The Telegraph archives was included in this report.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.