GULFPORT — Acting on a tip that a student had drugs, a school resource officer at Boca Ciega High School found a handgun instead and arrested 17-year-old Patrick Tully.
School administrators pulled Tully from class after receiving the tip and conducted a search with the school resource officer from the Gulfport Police Department. They found the loaded, .40-caliber, Glock handgun in Tully's backpack, Gulfport police said.
No drugs were found.
Tully was charged with felony possession of a weapon and ammunition on school property.
There was no indication Tully displayed or threatened to use the weapon, police said. He told detectives he purchased the gun from a friend for personal protection.
Two Gulfport Police Department officers are assigned to Boca Ciega High School.
In a recorded phone message to parents, Principal Michael Vigue said students reported "a fellow student was acting suspiciously" and administrators called him in immediately.
"I would like to commend our students, staff and local law enforcement," Vigue said, "for swiftly working together to ensure that we continue to provide all our students with a safe working environment."