Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two freshmen found with guns at East Bay High

GIBSONTON — East Bay High School went on lockdown for nearly four hours Tuesday as deputies scoured the campus for weapons.

By 11:30 a.m., they had confiscated two handguns and detained two 15-year-old boys.

The search for more weapons continued. Deputies looked in classrooms and opened lockers. Lunch was put on hold. Worried parents waited outside, unable to take their teens home.

Finally, at 1:30 p.m., the lockdown was lifted.

Deputies were investigating claims that the students brought the unloaded handguns and ammunition to campus because of a dispute over a girl. School officials don't believe the students planned violence. It appears they brought the guns for protection from unnamed others.

"It's still a felony to bring a gun on campus," school district spokesman Stephen Hegarty noted.

The St. Petersburg Times did not publish the boys' names because they were charged as juveniles and no prior records appear for them in the state crime database.

The two freshmen were held on charges of carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a weapon on school property and possession of a firearm with an altered serial number.

One boy's father teared up as he talked about his son. A daughter translated his statements from Spanish:

"I didn't think he would do something like that. I want to ask him: 'Why?' " the father said. "Why would he get a gun, and why would he have it during school? What he did was bad."

The other boy's parents declined to talk to a reporter other than to say that, as of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, they had not heard from their son.

The search started with a tip Monday evening, Hegarty said. The initial report was that a student was going to bring a gun to school to sell to another student.

By the end of third period Tuesday, deputies determined that a gun might be on campus, Hegarty said.

"I wasn't scared, and no one was really scared," senior Lenora Ojada said. "Everyone was just really frustrated. It's been a very long day."

Parents lined Big Bend Road in front of the school. Only one deputy was there to talk to them, and he couldn't reach everyone fast enough to stop the spread of rumors.

Linda Rodriguez said she drove an hour and half from work as soon as she heard about the lockdown. She wanted to pick up her son, sophomore Carlos Magana.

"I was driving 100 miles an hour trying to get here," she said.

Several East Bay students who know the teens who were arrested said Tuesday's events surprised them.

"They're cool. I wouldn't expect them to bring a gun to school," said freshman Joshua Green. "That's mad stupid."

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Two freshmen found with guns at East Bay High 11/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 11:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Forecast: Isolated showers to start along the coast before pushing inland

    Weather

    Tampa Bay residents can expect isolated showers mainly along the coast this morning before they push inland this afternoon.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast [WTSP]
  2. Rick Scott for President?

    Blogs

    Reubin Askew tried. So did Bob Graham. And Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. When you've shown an ability to win statewide elections in America's biggest swing state, you're almost automatically a credible contender for president.

    Rick Scott
  3. The next step in a sex abuse survivor's recovery: Erasing her tattoo

    Health

    TAMPA — Even after 20 years, Sufiyah can't escape the memories of being sexually exploited by gang members as a teenager.

    The tattoo makes it impossible.

    Sufiyah, an aAbuse survivor, prepares to have a tattoo removed  at Tampa Tattoo Vanish  on Thursday. During her teen years, she was sexually exploited by a gang. The tattoo is a mark of her exploiters. 

Tampa Tattoo Vanish is a new tattoo removal business run by Brian Morrison, where survivors of human trafficking get free tattoo removal.  [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  4. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs

    Bucs

    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  5. St. Pete sewage crisis ends with no charges, $326 million bill

    Water

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city has put the legal fallout from the sewage crisis behind it.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system in September 2016. The city recently learned that no employees will face charges as a result of that crisis. The St. Petersburg City Council also agreed to spend $326 million fixing its sewer system. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]