Originally created 11/27/01

Girl, 12, brings pistol to school



A 12-year-old Hephzibah girl feuding with a classmate over a boy brought a loaded gun to Spirit Creek Middle School on Monday and threatened to hurt the classmate, authorities said.

Pupils who saw the .380-caliber pistol in the girl's book bag alerted the school's public safety officer, who found the girl and seized the gun, said Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry.

The nickel-plated pistol was loaded with a magazine and one round inside, he said.

The girl, whose name was not released because of her age, was arrested and later released into her mother's custody pending a Juvenile Court hearing.

"As far as we could tell, she took the weapon out of a vehicle at her house without the knowledge of the owner," Maj. Autry said.

The car and gun were owned by her mother's boyfriend, the major said. The boyfriend will not be charged.

There had been a long-standing feud between the 12-year-old and the classmate, including a disagreement over a boy, Maj. Autry said. On Monday morning, the two exchanged words at their bus stop in front of Plantation Acres Trailer Park off Deans Bridge Road in Hephzibah, police said.

"When she got to school, she had words with the victim and told her she was going to do something to her in gym class," Maj. Autry said.

In the meantime, she had opened her book bag and displayed the gun to a few other pupils, repeating her threat against the girl, he said.

The gun was seized before the 12-year-old made it to gym class. Maj. Autry said it was unclear whether she actually intended to use the weapon.

The girl is charged with carrying a weapon on school property, making terroristic threats and possession of a weapon by an underage person.

School officials refused to discuss the incident.

Principal Ronnie Harrison referred comments to the school's Public Safety Department. Officials there referred calls to the school's spokesman, Justin Martin, who declined to comment and referred questions to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.