Reporting Meghan McCorkell
ESSEX, Md. (WJZ)– Gun in the classroom. A teacher wrestled a loaded weapon away from an eighth grader at Stemmers Run Middle School. It’s the second time a gun has gotten into a Baltimore County school in the past two weeks. Meghan McCorkell has more as county officials crack down.
Police say that boy had a loaded gun and a hunting knife on him when he walked into the classroom. It’s thanks to a heroic teacher that no one was hurt.
Students say the 13-year-old boy walked into the classroom with a loaded gun in his hand.
“He pulled out the gun and started to wave it around and the teacher was like, `Put the gun down. Put the gun down,’” said witness Devin Harmon.
When the boy pointed it at students, the teacher stepped in front and knocked the gun from his hand.
The school was put on lockdown and frantic parents rushed to get their children.
“I had to get them out of school. I can’t just leave them here,” said parent Tammy Dumbeck.
The incident comes on the heels of the shooting inside Perry Hall High School. Now county officials are increasing security. Starting immediately, the police chief has assigned additional officers to patrol inside middle and high schools. School resource officers will be issued handheld metal detectors.
“The metal wand security devices will be used only when a police officer has reasonable suspicion that a crime is or is about to occur,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson.
“If it protects the kids and the teachers and so on, then yeah, put them in,” said parent Rhonda Klemm.
“If it keeps the schools safer and the kids safer,” said sixth grader Sophie Klemm.
Tuesday night, the superintendent addressed parents’ concerns at a scheduled community meeting in Woodlawn.
“We hope we’d be immune to situations but we’re not so the reality is, you have to plan for the what-ifs and hope and pray that the what-ifs never happen,” said Baltimore County School Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance.
The school system is now undergoing a comprehensive review of its security procedures to find ways to keep guns out.
Press Conference From Tuesday Afternoon:
The 13-year-old boy in Tuesday’s incident will be charged as a juvenile. Police say the gun belonged to his grandfather. Norman Gatewood, 70, has been charged with failing to secure his weapon.