SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - A Crimestoppers tip resulted in the arrests of two Slidell Junior High School students on several charges in connection with bringing a gun to school on Dec. 1, according to the Slidell Police Department. While police said they were grateful for the tip, department spokesman Daniel Seuzeneau said they were concerned about the length of time it took - 24 hours - given the number of witnesses to the crime.
Police said on Dec. 1, a 14-year-old student brought a loaded, semi-automatic gun to school. At some point, a 12-year-old student took possession of the gun. One of the witnesses, a student, told investigators that the 12-year-old pulled out the gun, pointed it at the student and pulled the slide back on the gun until it made a "clicking" sound. The 12-year-old suspect allegedly showed the gun to several students throughout the day, none of whom notified school officials or the school resource officer, police said
So far, Slidell Police have identified 12 witnesses, all students, who saw the gun or had knowledge of the gun being at school. Police said the 12-year-old student threatened some of the students on social media.
On Monday, both students were arrested and booked into the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center on the following charges:
- 14-year-old juvenile: Illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile and illegal carrying of weapons on school property
- 12-year-old juvenile: Terrorizing, aggravated assault with a firearm, cyberstalking, illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile and obstruction or interference with students of an educational institution.
The method by which the juveniles obtained the gun is still under investigation, as well as the motive behind the incident.
"This incident is very disturbing to me," said Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal in an emailed statement. "Thankfully no one was physically hurt, but this incident could have had a much different outcome. We are grateful someone came forward with a Crimestoppers tip, but extremely concerned this wasn't immediately reported to a school official or the school resource officer. We are hoping this sparks a conversation between parents and their children about the importance of reporting serious incidents. If you see something, say something. We take every complaint serious, especially when it involves children in our schools."
"As soon as the School System received the Crimestoppers tip, administrators contacted the Slidell Police Department and assisted with the investigation in every way possible," said St. Tammany School Superintendent Trey Folse in an emailed statement. "We always encourage students to report any type of safety concerns to a teacher, administrator or School Resource Officer. Safety is our top priority, and we take every report of a threat seriously. Our School System is committed to open communication, so the principal of the school notified parents of the incident through a phone call on Monday. School personnel continue to be available for students and parents who have questions or concerns about this incident."