HARRISBURG, Ark. (KAIT) - Investigators arrested and charged two students with possessing firearms on campus after one tried to sell a gun to another, leading to a district-wide lockdown.
Poinsett County Sheriff Kevin Molder stated Thursday that a 15-year-old male suspect stole a handgun and took it to school Tuesday to sell to the 14-year-old suspect.
Police arrested the 14-year-old suspect immediately following the incident. Molder said he is being held in a juvenile facility on suspicion of possession of a handgun by a minor/on school property, theft of property, and breaking or entering.
The 15-year-old suspect, who was arrested on Wednesday, is charged with possession of a handgun by a minor/on school property, aggravated assault, first-degree terroristic threatening, and fleeing.
Molder did not identify either suspect due to their ages.
School administrators received a report that a student had tried to sell a gun on Snapchat, according to the district’s attorney, Rebecca Worsham.
When the SRO attempted to search the student who was alleged to have the gun, the 14-year-old suspect ran away.
The SRO called Poinsett County Dispatch and said he was chasing the juvenile.
Sheriff Kevin Molder said the Poinsett County Sheriff’s Office, Harrisburg Police Department, Trumann Police Department, and Arkansas State Police were told about the situation and arrived at the school within minutes.
“We set up a perimeter, we did what protocol says we do, we set up an incident command and we took care of the situation and located the student and weapon quickly," Molder said.
Administrators placed all of the district’s campuses on lockdown as law enforcement officers searched for the suspect.
Deputies and officers also went into the school to make sure there were no threats.
Around 11:50 a.m., the student was found in the backyard of a home on the west side of the school and was taken into custody without incident.
Molder said a handgun was found a short distance from where the juvenile was caught.
“The student ditched the weapon while he was being pursued by law enforcement,” Worsham told Region 8 News.
The school lockdown was lifted around 1:15 p.m.
Worsham stressed than no students or staff members were injured. A middle school student had an unrelated medical issue, she said, and paramedics were called.
Harrisburg Superintendent Doug Worley says while there was effective communication between the school and law enforcement, there wasn’t with parents.
“We always want to improve our communication," Worley said. "We want to try to look at any procedures that we have in place that we thought were good procedures. At school, you hope you never face this situation as a school district.”
Sheriff Molder thanked the Trumann Police Department and patrol division of Arkansas State Police for their quick response.
“I would also like to thank all the agencies who offered their assistance. We are blessed to be surrounded by law enforcement agencies who are willing to assist us when needed,” Molder said.
Because of the incident, basketball games scheduled to be played Tuesday night were canceled.
Classes resumed Wednesday with additional officers at the middle and high school campuses. Counselors were available for students as well.