15-year-old charged with criminal possession of a weapon, accused of bringing loaded gun into Bennett campus

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A teenager is facing a felony charge after bringing a loaded handgun inside a Bennett High School classroom.

According to Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, the 15-year-old male student had been showing off the gun to his classmate for days.

“I have no reason to believe he was going to do anything with the gun other than be cool and show it around, like, ‘hey, look what I got,” Flynn said. “Show and tell is for ‘check out these cool sneakers I got for Christmas.’ That’s show and tell; that’s what you show your buddies in high school. Show and tell is not for a loaded gun.”

Buffalo police say a loaded handgun was found inside a student’s backpack at the Bennett campus.

The gun was found by officers on Thursday around 11 a.m. after they received a tip. The school issued a shelter-in-place as police searched the building.

“The process worked very well today – it worked as it’s supposed to work,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. “We successfully took a loaded handgun out of a school today.”

Pastor James Giles of Back to Basics Outreach Ministry said both Buffalo Public School officials and community leaders must now step up and prevent something like this incident from happening again.

“We are currently engaged in working with the superintendent to come up with innovative plans and very comprehensive plans to do just that – to employ and engage parents, engage community people to work with the parents, because we believe it’s more than just what’s happening inside the schools,” Giles said.

The 15-year-old male student has been taken into police custody and charged with one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. He was remanded to the custody of the Erie County Youth Service Center.

During a court appearance on Friday morning, bail was set at $25,000.

According to Erie County District Attorney John Flynn’s office, the office will file a motion to prevent the case from being sent to Family Court due to the severity of the alleged crime.

“I don’t want to hurt a 15-year-old for the rest of his life, but on the other hand, you can’t bring a gun into school,” Flynn said. “I’m going to hold him accountable.”

There are three schools on the Bennett campus: Lewis J. Bennett School of Innovative Technology, Research Laboratory High School and Middle Early College High School.

The teen is scheduled to be back in court on the morning of December 21.

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