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Police Tighten Security At Essex School A Day After Student Brings Gun To Class

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ESSEX, Md. (WJZ)– Security crackdown. Baltimore County police are rolling out new procedures after two separate cases where guns were brought inside school buildings.

Mike Hellgren has the latest on the threat at Stemmers Run Middle School.

Police confirm to WJZ that they’ve traced the gun that was waved around inside a classroom back to a student’s grandfather.

A show of visibility as police made their presence known at Stemmers Run Middle School Wednesday morning, one day after an eighth-grader brought a semi-automatic handgun to class and pointed it at fellow students, putting the school in lockdown and frightening parents like Shannon Harvey, the mother of a sixth-grader.

“I was shocked, overwhelmed, upset for my son and all the students,” Harvey said.

Police have not identified the teenager but they’ve traced the gun back to his grandfather– 70-year-old Norman James Gatewood and charged him with giving the teenager access to firearms, a misdemeanor.

“These parents need to make sure that these weapons are secured,” Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said.

“Parental controls of weapons is what really needs to be emphasized more now than it has in the past,” Fred Hartline, the grandfather of a Stemmers Run student, said.

The teen’s grandfather did not respond to WJZ’s request for comment but WJZ has learned through state police that he had multiple firearms registered in his name.

In addition to beefing up security, Baltimore County schools will give hand-held metal detectors to school resource officers. But they’re only authorized to use them when they suspect someone has a weapon.

“Nobody suspected that kid having that gun yesterday, so you know, I think it should be mandatory in all schools that they put up metal detectors,” parent Melanie Owens said.

Related Story: Baltimore Co. Schools To Increase Security

Right now, Baltimore County school leaders are in the midst of a sweeping review of violence prevention and safety programs and that is taking on a greater urgency after the incident at Stemmers Run and a shooting that wounded a student at Perry Hall High School two weeks ago.

“You’re almost numb to it because it’s been happening so much. It’s scary,” another parent said.

The student involved in the incident at Stemmers Run will face juvenile charges. There were no problems reported at the school on Wednesday.

State law requires gun owners keep their weapons secure from those younger than 15.

Police also say the teenager had a hunting knife with a six-inch blade.

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