Maryland

Defense: Md. Student Accused of Bringing Gun to School Denied Bail on Improper Information

Alwin Chan's attorneys say the judge denied the suspect bail on improper information

Attorneys for the 18-year-old student accused of taking a loaded gun to his high school in Montgomery County, Maryland, say the list of grievances prosecutors accused the suspect of possessing doesn't exist, and they're asking a judge to reconsider bond in court.

Montgomery County police said Alwin Chen took a handgun to Clarksburg High School Feb. 15, the day after the Florida high school shooting that left 17 people dead.

A judge ordered Chen, of Germantown, held without bond, and ordered he undergo a mental health evaluation.

Prosecutors said police found an AR-15-style rifle, a Glock pistol, a revolver, a detonator, a replica of an inert hand grenade, a tactical vest and the list of grievances allegedly explaining why Chen would want to harm people at the school.

But in an emergency motion to reconsider bond, Chen's attorneys dispute the existence of the list of grievances and argue that was the court's main concern in denying Chen bond. 

The state's attorney's office said it "will respond to the motion in due course and via the proper legal channels."

At a court hearing set for Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors are expected to make their case that Chen is neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community. 

It's unclear who owns the guns found in Chen's home, but police said there was no indication the guns belong to anyone who lives outside the home.

Police reviewed Chen's journal and said there were no explicit threats or expression of a desire to harm anyone at the school.

County police are still working to determine Chen's motive for allegedly taking the gun to school. They said that while they did seize Chen's journal, it did not contain any specific threat. 

Chen was arrested after a school resource officer received information that he might have a weapon, police said. 

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The officer pulled Chen out of class and asked him if he had a weapon. Chen then said he had a handgun in his book bag and knife in his front shirt pocket, police said. 

The officer took the knife and a loaded 9mm handgun and arrested Chen. He was charged with possession of a handgun, possession of a firearm by a person under 21 years old and possession of a firearm on school property.

Prosecutors say Chen initially said he took the gun to school for target practice after school, but that he then changed his story. 

He also told police that he brought the gun to school to protect himself and classmates from a possible mass shooter.

Police say Chen said he felt anxious about social interactions with his classmates. 

Prosecutors say Chen had previously taken a gun to school. A Montgomery County Public Schools representative said school officials were unaware of any report that Chen had taken a gun onto school property.

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