Police investigating Lakewood High students who posed with gun at school

Published Jan. 11, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG — Three teens face charges after police say at least two Lakewood High students took selfie photos with a stolen handgun in a school bathroom that were posted to social media.

The handgun used in the photos was stolen on Dec. 14 in a home burglary, police said. One of the teens is facing charges of armed burglary and violation of probation.

Besides possession of a gun on school property, one of the teens is also charged with burglary of a dwelling, grand theft and possession of marijuana.

St. Petersburg Police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez said officers became aware of the photos at the end of school day Tuesday.

Officers, she said, interviewed one student at the school at 1400 54th Ave. S and visited the home of a second student. The weapon was recovered off campus, she said.

A Lakewood teacher who knew about the photos notified school administrators, who alerted the school resource officer, Fernandez said. The photo of the students posing with the gun on campus was taken Tuesday and had been circulating on social media.

According to the Pinellas County Student Code of Conduct, any student who brings a gun to school shall be suspended for no more than five days and recommended for expulsion for at least one year. Expulsions must be approved by the School Board.

This is the second weapon found on Lakewood's campus this school year. A 15-year-old student was arrested in August after police found a loaded handgun hidden under his clothes.

In a message sent to parents Tuesday evening, Lakewood principal Erin Savage assured parents the school investigated the issue as soon as it was discovered.

"As law enforcement continues their investigation, I want to remind our school community that weapons are not tolerated on Lakewood's campus," Savage said. "Please know that the safety and security of your child is our priority."

Times staff writer LaVendrick Smith contributed to this report.