10/25/07 — Student caught with gun at EWHS

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Student caught with gun at EWHS

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on October 25, 2007 1:46 PM

A 16-year-old took a handgun to class at Eastern Wayne High School Wednesday, leading to charges against the student, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office says.

Equan Jerell Bowden of Woodside Circle was charged with possessing a firearm on school grounds, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a handgun under age, Capt. Tom Effler said.

The gun was unloaded, school officials said.

Sheriff's Office employees said Bowden was booked at Wayne County Detention Center at 1:50 p.m. Wednesday.

"Several students went to the principal (Eugene Byrd) and told him a student had a gun," Effler said.

The principal and other staff went to confront the student, which caused Bowden to try to hide the weapon.

"I guess he probably knew what they were coming for, and he tried to put it down somewhere," Effler said. "But they saw him put it down, and they were able to secure the weapon."

Bowden was jailed in lieu of $3,000 unsecured bond, and was not in jail as of Thursday morning, the Sheriff's Office said.

Since the incident occurred late in the school day, officials did not have time to send a letter home to parents notifying them of the occurrence. Plans were for a letter to be sent home with students today.

Administrators and staff also planned to speak with students at the school today to let them know about the incident.

According to Ken Derksen, public information officer for the school system, it was an isolated incident and the students who made the initial report should be commended. Students, he added, are always encouraged to report any incident that may involve weapons or illegal activity.

"We want to assure students and parents that full security and safety measures are in place at Eastern Wayne High School," said Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent. "Our zero tolerance policy remains in effect for any student who jeopardizes in any way the safety of other students."