Gun Brought to School

WHEELING – Police arrested a 12-year-old Wheeling Middle School student Friday morning after the school’s resource officer allegedly found a loaded handgun in the boy’s locker.

The boy was taken before Ohio County Magistrate Harry Radcliffe, who serves as the juvenile referee for the circuit court, and charged with possession of a firearm in school. Radcliffe ordered him lodged at the Northern Regional Juvenile Detention Center on Chapline Street, where he remained Friday night.

Other students and parents told the school’s prevention resource officer, Sgt. John Schultz, that the boy may have brought a gun to the building as students were arriving around 8 a.m. Schultz and school staff quickly located the suspected student, and the gun was found in his locker.

The weapon remains in police possession as evidence.

Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger did not know how the boy got the gun, or why he brought it to school. He commended the other student and his parents, who alerted the resource officer.

“Although stories like these are scary ones, I rest easy knowing the working relationship between the Wheeling Police Department and Ohio County Schools,” he said. “This is a perfect example of the benefits of the prevention resource officer program in our community.”

Schwertfeger said Ohio County Schools is working closely with the police investigation.

“Safety of our students is our utmost concern, and our board of education supports the prevention resource officer program at Wheeling Park High School and all of our schools,” Superintendent Dianna Vargo said.

She declined to comment on any school disciplinary action against the student.

A preliminary hearing in the case is anticipated to take place in front of Radcliffe sometime this weekend or early next week. The boy has been provided an attorney.