Just hours after Gulfport Chief of Police Rob Vincent told city council the school year at Boca Ciega High School “was going well,” Gulfport police arrested a 17-year-old junior who brought a gun to school with the intent of killing himself.
While texting about meeting, a female student started getting what police described as “odd” text messages from this student and she went to the police with concerns.
School Resource Officer Steven Beltran took the student out of class, found a .380 semiautomatic weapon in his backpack, and removed it without incident. Both of Boca Ciega High School’s school resource officers as well as several other Gulfport police officers responded to the call.
“They reacted very quickly and very appropriately,” Chief Vincent said.
The student told police he took the gun from a safe at his home and that he watched his mother punch in the code, although he said she did not know he saw her. He told police he hadn’t intended to “harm anyone but himself”, according to Sergeant Tom Woodman.
The student admitted he had planned to kill himself. Police took him into protective custody and will charge him with possession of a firearm on school property.
“You know who deserves most of the credit?” Chief Vincent said “The young lady who went to the police to report this. The fact that she chose to come to the police made all the difference in the world. It made a huge difference; who knows what would have happened if she didn’t.”