Polk high school student arrested for bringing loaded, stolen handgun on school bus, police say

Polk County

HAINES CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 17-year old boy is facing much more than detention after he was accused of bringing a loaded handgun to school this week.

A student texted his or her parent after seeing the boy holding the gun on the bus ride home from Ridge Community High School on Monday, according to Haines City Police.

“He pulled out where you load the bullets. He continued, I believe, it had some sort of slide and he was sliding bullets in and out of the gun,” Haines City Police Public Information Officer Mike Ferguson said. “Definitely scary, could have been disastrous. One slip of the finger, who knows where we are today.”

8 On Your Side is not publishing the student’s name or mugshot due to his age. Police say there is no evidence to support the student had any intention of using the gun.

The gun was reported stolen from a home in unincorporated Polk County. But it’s unclear who stole the gun, Ferguson said.

The student faces several charges including possession of a firearm on school property, improper exhibition of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm by a person under 18 years of age.

The teen was on probation and was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center after his arrest.

“This a prime example of how students, staff and community members help keep our schools and buses safe when they report something suspicious or dangerous,” Polk County Public Schools Senior Director of Communications Rachel Pleasant wrote in a statement. “We are very grateful that this situation ended without anyone getting hurt, and we commend the student who came forward to do the right thing.”

According to the sheriff’s office, four people were arrested in three incidents during the 2019-2020 school year for bringing a firearm onto school property in Polk County.


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