Report: Gun in Beech Hill incident was loaded

Beech Hill Elementary. (Source: Dorchester District 2)

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- An elementary school student told Dorchester County deputies that he brought a gun to school to stop a student with a knife from harming another student.{}

An incident report from the Sheriff's Office revealed a student with a handgun on a bus headed for Beech Hill Elementary School took the gun with him to stop a student, who had been armed with a knife and threatening to kill someone the previous day.{}

The gun was loaded, according to the report.{}

The report went on to say that, according to the student with the gun, the student with the knife was going to kill another student on the bus who had been bullying him. The boy said the student was "acting like a psychopath" and took the knife away from the other boy on Tuesday morning.

The gun-toting boy said he did not ride the bus home Tuesday afternoon because his father picked him up, the report stated. That night he picked up a gun belonging to his grandfather, the report stated, and wrapped it in a shirt before sticking it in his book bag.{}

The next day, he got back on the bus armed with the knife of the other boy and his grandfather's gun. But he was scared the gun might accidentally discharge, he told officers after he was detained.

According to the report, the boy returned the knife to the other student and told him he had a gun.{}

The report stated he pulled the gun half way out of the bag to show the other student, pointed it at him, and then put it away. He was confronted at school by officials at school, the report reads. He said he had no plans to shoot anyone.{}

However, the report showed that the boy with the knife told officers a different story.{}

According to the incident report, the knife-wielding boy said that he let the other boy borrow his knife on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the boy brought it back and said he had a gun, he reportedly told officers.{}

The boy with the gun also told the other student: "I will kill you," while pointing the gun at him, but then said he was joking and showed the gun to another student before putting it away, according to the report.

"You do say, 'Oh my goodness. Not at the Beech,'" Beech Hill Principal Rene Harris said. "But, as wonderful as we are, we're not above all... We're a part of a society. Unfortunately, this has become a part of what happens in many schools, in many great schools. To that end, yes, at the end of the day it was a lot to take in."

The day after the two students were caught with weapons on a bus headed to Beech Hill Elementary School, the bus driver who reportedly had knowledge of at least one of the weapons was let go.{}

Officials with Dorchester District 2 said further investigation revealed that the bus driver the students found out a day before the weapon incident that a student may have a knife. The driver failed to report that to school officials.

The incident report shows that the driver asked who had a weapon on the bus, but no one claimed responsibility. The driver then said that any weapons should not be carried on the bus and let the students disembark.

One of the weapon-toting students said he thought another student reported them, according to the report.

The driver was cited for failure to report a safety issue which was provided by a student. She is no longer employed by the district.

Summerville police responded to Beech Hill Elementary School Wednesday morning for reports of two students having weapons on a school bus.

According to Dorchester District Two spokesperson Pat Raynor, upon arriving to school a student told staff members that one student on the bus had a gun in his book bag and another had a knife.

"In this situation it played out exactly as the children has been taught to do," said Kelli Taylor, whose son attends the third grade at Beech Hill.

"If our parents, teachers and all the adults put our arms around those children, tell them, 'It's okay to tell. It's not okay to bring a weapon to school,' I know our school and community will be strengthened by it," Harris said.

One of the students was a fifth grader, officials said.

Raynor said both students were brought into the school office and the weapons were confiscated.

Police were called in and are investigating. Raynor said both students were removed from campus.

Phone messages were sent to parents after the incident. Letters will be sent home with students when they go home Wednesday, officials said.

District leaders also met following the incident and reviewed the school's and district's protocols during these events. They said officials handled it properly.