Sheriff: 8th grader with gun had problem with boy

By The Associated Press

GREENWOOD — Authorities say an eighth-grader who brought a gun to a private school in Greenwood had a problem with another student.

The boy was arrested Friday at Pillow Academy after tip from a parent led officials to a pistol in his backpack in his locker.

Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks tells the Greenwood Commonwealth (http://bit.ly/AbtFD1) that the boy “had a problem the day before with another student and that might have been the reason for him bringing it.”

Banks said the boy’s mother declined to waive his rights when investigators interviewed him, meaning the boy hasn’t told investigators his side of the story.

Headmaster Termie Land has said the gun had a loaded clip of ammunition, but there was no round in its chamber. An additional clip was found in the book bag.

Pillow is an 800-student private school. Land said school rules required that the child be expelled.

The boy is being held at the Leflore County Juvenile Detention Center. Banks said a detention hearing in Leflore County Youth Court will most likely be held Tuesday.

The sheriff said Saturday that the investigation is focusing on “why it happened, how he got it there and what it’s all about.”

“I don’t know what the kid wanted to do. … He may have been trying to let them know he wasn’t going to take any more mess,” he said.

Banks said he didn’t know how the student got the gun.

The boy is being charged as a juvenile, meaning his arrest information is not public record. However, his identity quickly became known Friday as talk of the incident spread around Greenwood. The Associated Press isn’t naming the student because he’s a minor.

A woman at the boy’s home declined comment when reached on the Greenwood Commonwealth.

Land sent an email to parents near noon Friday informing them about what happened.

“After initial questioning and investigation by the administration, we are confident that no other firearms are on campus and that our students are safe,” Land said in the email.

Land said the school received the tip at about 9 a.m. The student was in physical education class at the time. The small handgun was found in his book bag in his locker at the gym. Land said he did not know what motivated the student to bring the gun to school.