Loaded Gun Found on Campus: Cops

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    You see a gun at school. Do you a) tell a teacher, b) call a cop or c) text somebody? The high-tech decision turned out to be the right one Wednesday in San Diego.

    San Diego police said they took a 22-year-old student at a local medical trades school out of class Wednesday after a fellow student spotted a handgun in his backpack. The weapon turned out to be loaded, according to investigators.

    Loaded Gun Found on Campus: Cops

    [DGO] Loaded Gun Found on Campus: Cops
    The weapon turned out to be loaded, according to investigators. (Published Thursday, Nov 19, 2009)

    The incident took place at the United Education Institute College, in Kearny Mesa, after a woman saw the gun, which was wrapped in a T-shirt in a classmate's backpack. Police said she texted her father, who called school officials. They called police, and the man was in custody within 15 minutes of the weapon first being spotted.

    "When the officers arrived, they met with administrators of the school," said Lt. Scott Bender of the San Diego Police Department. "They obtained additional information. The officers formulated a plan of action that took into account the best interests of the students and the school staff. The officers brought the student out .... a loaded 9mm handgun was located inside the backpack of the 22-year-old male student."

    UEI administrators emphasized everything was kept "low-key."
       
    Students at the school, which trains them for careers as medical, dental and pharmaceutical assistants, said they were held in their classes through at least one break until the situation was resolved.

    "We really didn't know what was going on," Anna Chaboua said. "I guess it's better we didn't, because we would've been all crazy and running around. It's a little scary, coming to school now."

    Afterward, there was rumors going around about the weapon and ammunition being displayed, but authorities said nothing of the kind happened.

    Eventually, the campus went back to classes as usual, but some students were shaken up

    "I mean, I thought it would be -- it's UEI, it's like a trade school," Jared Wickham said "Why would ... it's crazy."

    "It could have went a lot of different ways," Janay Gilliam said. "We could have been in danger. I don't know. I'm shocked, really, to think it would happen here."

    The student with the gun has not given police a statement, investigators said. He may face a felony charge of possessing a loaded firearm on a school campus and, possibly, expulsion from UEI.