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Richards will not file charges in ‘gun incident’
By Bob Simmons, Managing Editor
According to a report by G. John Richards, Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney, no criminal charges will be issued (sought) against the adult driver for the events of Jan. 18, 2008. This as a road rage incident that ended on the parking lot and the driveway of Troy Buchanan High School. The decision has resulted in disappointment to outrage in many circles.
Richard released the following statement.
“There is conflicting evidence as to whether a gun was pointed at the juvenile. Section 571.030.10 RSMO provides that a person commits a crime of unlawful use of a weapon, if he or she knowingly carries a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded into any school , onto any school bu…
However, Subdivision 10 shall not apply to any person who has a valid conceal and carry indorsement pursuant to Section 571. 101 to 571.121 RSMO In addition, Subdivision 10 does not apply to persons acting in lawful self-defense. In the current situation, the adult had a valid conceal carry endorsement. Also the evidence the evidence established that the adult was acting in lawful self defense based upon his reasonable belief. that the juvenile might be armed. Therefore, there will be no criminal prosecution for unlawful use of a weapon.”
Richards also said, as a point of education, the above two exceptions are not the only times that guns are are legally allowed upon the school grounds. Subdivision 10 of Section 571.030 RSMO does not apply if a firearm is otherwise lawfully possessed by a person while transferring school premises for purposes of transporting a student to or from school.
Terry Morrow, Lincoln County R-III school superintendent, expressed the district’s position on this issue.
“We are very disappointed on the decision as we have done everything to deter weapons from coming on school property with enactment of strict policies,” he said. “We think the decision not to pursue charges sends the wrong message not only for our district’s concerns, but for the schools throughout the state.”
Morrow added the school district has pursued and will continue to investigate other avenues for possible filing of charges. They will continue to work with City of Troy officials and the city prosecuting attorney to see if any charges could be brought forth in the municipal court of Troy.
The district takes exception to one point Richards mentioned in his reasoning….that is lack of evidence whether the adult actually pointed the weapon. Morrow said statements taken by the school’s resource officer that morning had indicated the weapon had been pointed.
Troy Chief of Police, Jeff Taylor also was disappointed with Richards decision.
“Our officers responded in quick fashion, providing assistance to the school resource officer. The situation was under control in a short time. We had the statements and reports to John’s (Richards) office by 10 a.m, that morning.”
Taylor added the reports and other information related to the incident have been turned over to Cynthia Davenport, the city’s prosecuting attorney, for her review. When contacted by a reporter, Davenport confirmed she is reviewing the papers and will render her decision by Monday of this week whether to pursue any charges in municipal court.
Craig Maddock, the public information affairs officer with the Lincoln County Ambulance District, said the adult, who is a district employee, has been placed on administrative leave following the incident. He said, while not disclosing the employee’s name, the district is continuing its investigation internally but the decision is currently between the individual and prosecutor. In published reports, the father of the student, Tim Green, indicated he would continue to press charges against the adult.
According to Green, his son said the incident occurred as he was driving on Highway 61 to school.