HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Three students at Hempfield Area High School are facing charges after two gun buys happened on campus Monday.
According to state police, all of the students charged are 15-year-old boys.
State police announced the charges Tuesday evening.
All of the students are charged with firearms not to be carried without a license, receiving stolen property and causing or risking a catastrophe. These are all felony offenses.
The three students are charged as juveniles.
State police said several students came forward on Monday and reported “observing transactions” between students involving guns.
Initial interviews with witnesses revealed that one of the students brought two loaded handguns to school. He gave one gun to another teen on the school bus. The same student then met another student in the school’s bathroom and gave him the second gun.
“What we believe is these students were in contact yesterday and possibly other times as well — that will be under investigation — and they chose to use the school as a place to exchange these firearms,” said Trooper Cliff Greenfield with state police.
Two firearms were recovered in two students’ backpacks by school resources officers.
At this time, investigators have no reason to believe the three students were planning any sort of attack, said Trooper Greenfield.
The school went into lockdown as state police and K-9s searched classrooms.
Panicked parents rushed to the school to get their children.
“She a little bit scared but she’s okay,” said Siefredo Ortiz whose daughter is a Hempfield senior.
Deanna Turpin’s son is a sophomore at the school.
“Knowing that they’ve seen the troopers have had their guns drawn, and they were in the halls, and they were outside — is what we’re being told — he’s been very calm with everything,” Turpin said.
The incident left many parents on edge.
When students return to school Tuesday morning, there will be added security measures. More police will be on campus and students will have to walk through metal detectors.
“They’ve got to give the parents a sense of security knowing that our kids are safe here,” Turpin said. “There’s no sense of security right now, none.”
No one was injured in the incident. Greenfield said everyone involved was quickly identified, and all of the firearms have been recovered.
The investigation is still active, Greenfield said.
Students were released from school at normal dismissal time.
Superintendent Dr. Tammy Wolicki said the district took immediate action to lock down the school. School resumed Tuesday with extra presence from state police and added measures of metal detectors.
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