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Student who brought gun to Olympia's Capital High School makes first court appearance

The student was carrying a loaded firearm and allegedly reached for the gun when running from officers, court documents state.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A 15-year-old student who brought a loaded gun to Olympia's Capital High School on Sept. 6 appeared in Thurston County Juvenile Court on Sept. 7. 

The student is accused of possessing a dangerous weapon at school facilities and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

"This was just a very scary and dangerous situation for everyone involved," said the prosecuting attorney for the case. 

The gun was not fired during the incident. KING 5 is currently not naming the student because he is a juvenile.

On Sept. 6, a nearby resident of a residential complex reported to police they saw the student, standing between two garages, pull something out of a backpack and put the object in his waistband, according to court documents. The student and another young person allegedly got into an argument over the backpack, the resident told police.

The caller told police it appeared to be too small of an object to be a gun, however, police responded to the scene.

After he was seen putting the object in his waistband, the student went to school, documents state. Officers did not detain the student because there was not enough evidence to suggest he had a gun.

Another person then called the school to report that a student may have brought a gun to campus, the documents state, and identified the student. 

School administrators attempted to get the student to the school’s officers, but the student “was disregarding staff members’ directives” and was heading toward the gym, documents state.

Around 9:30 a.m., officers contacted the student in the gym, who was sitting on the bleachers with several other students in a gym class. Officers removed the student from the gym to arrest him.

In the hallway when officers attempted to put the student in handcuffs, he jerked his arm away from the officers and sprinted out the door into another hallway, documents state.

While police ran after the student, officers saw the student allegedly reach for his concealed handgun. An officer tased the student and he was arrested, documents state.

"I was quite concerned as I read the probable cause statement, because I have seen stories like this where law enforcement feels that it is necessary for public safety to use firearms to stop an individual," said Thurston County Judge Chris Lanese. "Fortunately, for everyone involved, the law enforcement officers used tasers and that was successful in detaining the respondent. The actions we have here not only put the respondent in great risk, it put the community in great risk."

Officers found a compact semi-automatic .22 firearm with a loaded magazine and live rounds inside of it. The defense attorney said in court Thursday that he did not believe there was any sort of intention to use the gun. 

KING 5 reached out to the Olympia School District for an interview, but were told no interview would be available. 

Although classes continued on campus, the Olympia School District put out alerts saying no one was allowed to enter or leave the school as there was police activity on campus. 

At the time the gun was brought to the school, the student was already on release for an alleged crime that happened around six months ago. The court said he had been on release after allegedly pulling a 9- or 10-inch butcher knife on people in a grocery store aisle. 

Due to the the gun charges being a violation of his release, Thurston County Judge Chris Lanese revoked bail in that case, causing the student to stay behind bars. He also issued a $50,000 bail for the charges related to the Capital High School gun incident.

"It is the court's expectation, and my observation, that most people on pretrial release will be on their best behavior and the allegations here are quite the opposite, putting the respondent and the community, especially at a school, in significant risk of harm," said Judge Lanese, when deciding to revoke bail. 

The student allegedly told police that the firearm he was carrying was used in a shooting and robbery the week before, documents state. Those crimes are under investigation.

Some parents believe that the gun should not have been allowed to make its way into the school in the first place, saying the focus should not be on lockdown measures, but on preventative measures. 

"I am absolutely livid because a reactionary crisis response is not a safe facility," said Lindsey Wonder, who has two children who attend Capitol High School. 

She is planning to go to the school board meeting next week to advocate for metal detectors to be installed at schools. 

"We don't have a secure perimeter, we don't have metal detectors, we don't have anything keeping this from happening again the exact same way, or worse," said Wonder. 

She said she is thankful a community member called in a tip about the student bringing the gun. 

"If that hadn't happened yesterday, how many more days would they have brought it back? Would they have decided to use it at school? Would someone have been shot? Would someone be dead right now?" said Wonder. 

The school district told KING 5 that it has been in and continues to be in discussion with the city on a school officer program. It also said that additional counselors and support staff would be on campus for students and teachers this week. 


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