Parents, police chief talk about gun scare at Gulfport school

Parents, police chief talk about gun scare at Gulfport school
Parents showed a good bit of concern when dropping off their seventh and eighth graders Friday morning in Gulfport the day after a teen brought a loaded gun to school. (Photo source: WLOX)
Parents showed a good bit of concern when dropping off their seventh and eighth graders Friday morning in Gulfport the day after a teen brought a loaded gun to school. (Photo source: WLOX)
The investigation continues into why the 14-year-old brought the gun, ammo and a mask to class in North Gulfport.  (Photo source: WLOX)
The investigation continues into why the 14-year-old brought the gun, ammo and a mask to class in North Gulfport.  (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Parents showed a good bit of concern when dropping off their seventh and eighth graders Friday morning in Gulfport the day after a teen brought a loaded gun to school. The investigation continues into why the 14-year-old brought the gun, ammo and a mask to class in North Gulfport.

"What was his true intent, I'm not sure," said Police Chief Leonard Papania. "I don't believe there was a particular target."

With the events of the day before still fresh on their minds, parents brought their students to school with a sense of unease.

"I'm still trying to figure it all out myself. I don't really know how I feel," said Kayla Easter while waiting in the drop-off line.

"It's scary to think about," said Jim Warf.

He was just finding out about the incident. The thought that a student brought a loaded weapon into the same school his children attend had him worried.

"We need to start checking these kids for weapons or something. I don't know," said Warf.

Several parents agreed.

"Get better security or something," said Demetrius Taylor.

Talks of higher security measures, like checkpoints and metal detectors, were tossed around, but Taylor was skeptical about the school installing any new equipment.

"They don't have it now. They're probably not going to get it," said Taylor.

The fact that so many questions were still unanswered had these parents frustrated. Many parents said times have changed since they were in school.

"You don't know what kids are thinking these days," said Dean Coulter.

Coulter remembered hearing that a loaded weapon had been found at the school.

"I wasn't overly worried about it. You've got to put faith in the school system, that they can handle it," said Coulter.

By many accounts, the school handled the incident extremely well. Reportedly, a student approached the principal with a tip that another student had a weapon.

The principal then called the campus officer who took care of the situation from there. Papania said having the gun in custody "is the result of our teachers and police performing well."

Raime Ladner still doesn't like thinking about the notification she got from the school.

"You get a call like that, it's every parent's worst nightmare," said Ladner.

The uncertainty of what the day could bring had her on edge.

"It's nerve racking today to bring your kid to school and expect them to come home safe," said Ladner.

One parent told WLOX News Now that she would not be sending her child to school Friday due to rumors of another planned incident. Gulfport police told us that such rumors were unfounded and that it was safe for students to go to school. Papania did urge parents Friday to secure firearms at home.

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