Gun Found in Student's Backpack at Wilson High School

A student will remain in custody until his next hearing after a gun was found in his backpack at Wilson High School in Northwest D.C. Tuesday afternoon.

The student showed the gun to another student, who took pictures and posted them to Snapchat.

School officials say a teacher notified school security after a student reported seeing the gun. Security personnel found the handgun in the student's bag and confiscated it.

The student with the gun was taken into custody around 1:15 p.m. The girl who allegedly posted the images was removed from the classroom.

No one was hurt.

The student was charged as a juvenile with misdemeanor violation of a gun-free zone, possession of unregistered firearm and possession of ammunition. He was ordered held until his next hearing, which was scheduled for Monday.

School officials say they know from surveillance video that the student did not have the gun when he entered the school. Security officers are stationed at the school's door, and students must pass through a magnetometer to get into the school.

Officials are looking into how the student got the gun into the building.

The school praised students for speaking up. 

The male student, a juvenile, is charged with illegal possession of a gun. Police have not said whether the gun was loaded or what the student's intent was. 

In the wake of the incident, the building was evacuated and afternoon activities were canceled, although officials said there was no immediate threat at the school.

Stephon Henderson, who drove to Woodrow Wilson High School to pick up his godson, said he's upset about the situation.

"I know the security checks that they have. I can't understand how it happened," Henderson said. "I'm speechless."

He said he was very concerned.

"My godson goes here. I fear for his safety and the safety of all the other children," he said.

Police say two juveniles were arrested outside the school shortly after the gun incident.

Several students were involved in a fight outside the school Tuesday afternoon. The fight was broken up, and the two juveniles were arrested. One of the suspects arrested was found to have a knife.

Police do not know if the fight was related to gun incident -- that remains under investigation.

The school sent the following letter to parents of Wilson students:

Dear Wilson Community:

As you are aware, a gun was recovered inside a book bag at Wilson today. As per protocol, the administration, along with security and MPD, were able to secure and contain the situation without incident. As always, safety is our primary concern at Wilson High School however, I realize that this incident may raise concerns about your child's safety at school. As of now, we do not have all of the information about the situation that occurred today, and we are continuing to investigate by speaking with students, reviewing camera footage, and working closely with the MPD in every step of the process. This is an active investigation and details are still emerging; however, please know that the proper protocols are being implemented by school staff and administration. At the time of my earlier message, many details were not available but it was nonetheless important to share with parents that the situation was unfolding. We will continue to work with law enforcement on this matter and will update you as additional details unfold.

In response to the multitude of emails that I have and continue to receive from concerned parents and media outlets, I will try to address those questions and concerns, but only to the limit of which I am able, being mindful not to compromise MPD investigations and to avoid sacrificing accuracy to appease those who want information immediately. As a result, your questions may continue to be left unanswered. Because this is an ongoing investigation, I cannot answer many of the questions that have been raised as I am not at liberty to comment on an ongoing investigation that is under the jurisdiction of MPD. Further, over the next few days, as we learn more information, we may come to discover that what we believed to be true today turns out to be false or misleading in the future.

One important lesson learned from today's event is that if you "see something, say something," which is what brought this situation to a sudden and peaceful resolution. Reporting suspicious activity can aid administrators and deans in handling potential situations in a resolute and expeditious manner. In addition, we inspected all of the more than 50 first doors/entrances and are increasing our daytime coverage of doors during school hours.

I want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we all work through this difficult situation. I also want to thank our school partners, including the deans, the administrative team, teachers, MPD, and the many Central Office team members, for their guidance and assistance during this time. The safety of our students is paramount to us, just as it is with you. If you have any further questions or concerns about this incident, please contact me directly. Thank you for your continued support.


Principal Martin 

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