Accused high school senior now behind bars
A senior at Lakota West High School is in jail on a $10,000 bond after police say he brought a loaded handgun onto school property.
DeAngelo Jones, West Chester High School student.
WEST CHESTER, Ohio -- A senior at Lakota West High School is in jail on a $10,000 bond after police say he brought a loaded handgun onto school property.
DeAngelo Jones, 18, had a video arraignment Thursday, less than 24 hours after school officials say they found a loaded 9 mm pistol in a backpack that was inside his car, according to West Chester police. The car was parked in the high school's parking lot.
The suspect was inside the school and attending classes until Lakota West officials found the weapon in the vehicle just before 10 a.m. They "immediately" notified the West Chester Police Department and officers were on scene by 10:15 a.m., law enforcement officials said.
Jones was taken into custody during lunch and later placed under arrest. Jones is charged with possession of a deadly weapon in a school safety zone, a felony of the fifth degree.
As of Thursday afternoon, Jones was held in the Butler County Jail.
"It's a very, very serious offense and the police department, Lakota West High School, all of us take it very seriously," said Michelle Berling with the West Chester Police Department. "(We) want everybody to know that's not something you can do."
In response to the situation, Principal Elgin Card sent a note to parents just after noon to alert them of the situation.
The letter reads in part:
"I wanted to let you know about a situation that occurred today at school. We received information that there was a firearm stored in a student’s car in the parking lot. We investigated and confirmed that a student did in fact possess a firearm, which was stored in the vehicle."
Card said Jones will also face "appropriate disciplinary action" from the school. What that punishment entails was not immediately clear but it will be in line with the Lakota Student Code of Conduct.
During a phone call with WCPO, Card reiterated that the firearm was not brought into the school and students never faced an immediate threat. But, as spokesperson Randy Oppenheimer said, "any time you have a gun involved there's always a risk."
Oppenheimer declined to provide specific information about how school officials learned Jones had the gun. The school spokesperson also refused to comment on why Jones had the firearm.
Regardless of why, Card said the Lakota Local School District bans all guns from school property.
"Because the safety and security of our students is our highest priority, our board of education policy bans all firearms from all school property. It is not permissible to bring any weapon onto school property, even if secured in a private vehicle."
Any parents with questions are invited to contact Card directly at 513-874-5699.