According to Sgt. John Rupe of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, he was on the phone with the school’s student resource officer when she heard what were believed to be gunshots from outside the school and went to look into the noise.
“It sounded like gunfire from a small-caliber firearm,” Rupe said. “And given the nature of all we’ve seen across the country in recent years, we had to treat it seriously.”
Rupe said he became nervous when he immediately didn’t hear back from the SRO, which, he says, shows the seriousness of the situation, which turned out to be three students setting off fireworks.
“We think they did it out of boredom,” Rupe said, believing it wasn’t done maliciously. Even though he believes the students weren’t doing anything but lighting fireworks, Rupe said the situation had to be treated seriously and that it was the first time something like this had happened in his 10 years in his position.
Thomas Parrish, 18, and two other juveniles were charged with possession of a weapon on school property due to the explosive nature of the fireworks.
Along with scaring officers into believing they could have a situation where there was gunfire at a school, Rupe said aside from the SRO, three other officers from the WCSO were sent to the school, too.
According to a news release from the WCSO, Parrish was brought to the Washington County Detention Center where he was being held on $1,000 bond and set to be arraigned today at 9 a.m. The two juveniles were brought to the Washington County Juvenile Services and were released by the courts to their parents. They will appear in Juvenile Court on May 19.
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