TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Police Department arrested a 10th-grade student on Wednesday afternoon after he was discovered with a loaded gun on campus.
According to police, on Wednesday multiple students were reprimanded by school staff for hanging out in the school stairwell, which is not permitted.
When the students were escorted to the administrative office, their backpacks were searched by school staff.
One of the students, Deontae Boatwright, 15, refused to have his backpack searched. An administrator called Boatwright’s mother, who came to the school and proceed to search her son’s backpack in the presence of administrators.
When she did not find anything suspicious, she handed the bag to an administrator to conduct an additional search. The administrator opened a pencil pouch inside the backpack and discovered a loaded .380 semi-automatic pistol.
The school resource officer was called to the office to secure the weapon.
Boatwright was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm on school property (felony). He was transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC).
“It is incredibly concerning that yet another student has not only gotten their hands on a loaded firearm, but carelessly chose to bring the weapon with them to school,” said Chief Mary O’Connor. “Combating this issue must be a community effort. Parents, don’t be afraid to search your child’s bedroom, backpack, or their cell phones to make sure they are making good decisions. It is your responsibility to do so for the safety of your child and others. As always, we continue urging students to speak up if they believe a classmate or friend could have a weapon.”