Student threatens school
By John Joyce
Published in News on September 5, 2013 1:46 PM
A Charles B. Aycock High School student appeared before a Wayne County District Court Judge Wednesday for a first appearance on charges he threatened to bring a gun to school and "shoot everyone on the bus."
Brandon McMahon, 16, of 219 Stanton Acres Drive in Stantonsburg, was arrested Wednesday by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and charged with making a false report of mass violence on education property.
The arrest comes after an investigation into threats high school junior allegedly made as students got off the bus on Aug. 27.
McMahon was placed in the Wayne County Jail under a $5,000 secured bond Wednesday morning and was in court by that afternoon.
Assistant District Attorney Terry Light described the charge as a new law put in place due to mass shootings in recent years.
"It is a Class H felony," she said. "Any jail time would be determined, as in any case, based on the defendant's prior record."
Another potential consequence would have McMahon pay restitution to law enforcement and possibly the school for any interruption into their respective services, she said.
The charge, making a false report of mass violence on education property, is defined by N.C. State Statute 14-277 as "the communication to any person or group ... knowing or having reason to know the report is false ... an act of mass violence is going to occur on educational property...."
What that means is that the suspect would have to be guilty of making the threat knowing he wasn't going to carry out the act, but doing so to instill real fear, Light said.
"It would be up to law enforcement to investigate that and believe they had enough evidence to make that charge," she said.
After the hearing, McMahon was led back to jail to await either a bond release or his next court date, Sept. 23.
Ken Derksen, public information officer for Wayne County Public Schools, said privacy laws prevented him from saying much about the incident or consequences by the district. But he could confirm that McMahon is a junior at CBA and had allegedly made comments on a school bus last week to another student bus rider.
The complaint was brought to the attention of school officials by a parent who heard of the threat, Derksen said.
"I can confirm the matter was fully investigated by the school and Wayne County Sheriff's Office and handled in accordance with board policy and North Carolina law," Derksen said Wednesday afternoon. "It's important to note that the safety and well-being of students and staff are top priority.
"The district takes all potential threats seriously and appreciates the support of local law enforcement and school resource officers in assisting us with promoting school safety."