Student Arrested, Pellet Gun Found During Culpeper Schools' Lockdown | NBC4 Washington

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Student Arrested, Pellet Gun Found During Culpeper Schools' Lockdown

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    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on the arrest of a Culpeper High School student accused of taking a pellet gun on the school bus and made threats of violence. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015)

    A teenage student was arrested in Virginia Wednesday after he allegedly displayed a weapon and made threats against others, authorities said.

    The student -- a 15-year-old high school freshman -- was taken into custody off campus about 11:40 a.m., said Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins. A pellet gun was later found.

    No one was injured, but three Culpeper County schools were placed on modified lockdown for several hours.

    Multiple students said they saw one student with a handgun on a school bus on the way to Culpeper County High School Wednesday morning. The student had made statements that he intended to shoot others "in a very descriptive way," Jenkins said.

    “He claimed it to be a firearm,” he said. “He has made statements about what he would do with the weapon to shoot other people, multiple people, and he gave specific, clear details about how or what he would do with that weapon, and it’s frightening.”

    The student first made threats and showed a weapon Tuesday, authorities said.

    However, there was a "lag time" before the students reported what they had seen and heard, Jenkins said. Teachers then alerted the on-site school resource officer.

    Three schools that share a campus -- the high school, Trier Alternative School and Culpeper Middle School -- were placed on modified lockdown for several hours in response. The school also has a Head Start program, so preschoolers were among those in lockdown.

    Surveillance video showed he never entered the building and left school property toward the town of Culpeper.

    Jenkins said the student cooperated and contacted law enforcement when he heard they were looking for him. He was taken into custody about a half-mile from school.

    "He decided to give himself up," Jenkins said. They gave the student instructions so that he could be taken into custody safely, Jenkins said.

    The student didn't have a gun when he was arrested and wasn't cooperative about the location of any weapon, Jenkins said. The lockdown continued as they searched and ultimately found a CO2-powered pellet pistol "at a residence" that was not the student's home, Jenkins said. 

    He chose not to publicly give the suspect's name. Charges are pending against the student, who remains in custody.

    The student had been threatened by other students and wanted them to take him seriously as he threatened them back, a friend told News4. The threats were directed at specific students.

    Culpeper County Public Schools said around 1:45 p.m. that the schools had resumed their normal routines, and parents wishing to pick up their children could do so.

    The extra security measures had continued after someone was taken into custody due to the need for "further investigation," the school district had said.

    Virginia State Police was assisting with the investigation.

    There was a heavy police presence at the schools. Parents were told to wait in the Culpeper County High School parking lot before they were told they could pick up their children.

    Students told News4 they heard multiple rumors, including that shots were fired and that there were multiple with guns.

    After the lockdown, students were moved to the gym to wait in case parents went to get them. In the tense atmosphere, a fight broke out there and students involved ended up bloodied.

    One student said as she left school she went through a gauntlet of crying parents outside the school.

    Stay with NBCWashington.com and News4 for more.