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Teen arrested carrying gun at Manteca High
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Possession of a semi-automatic hand gun in one pocket and a full ammunition clip in the other pocket led to a 15-year-old Manteca High School sophomore being arrested out of his third period math class Wednesday morning.

School district director of secondary education Clara Schmiedt said the security of the school worked well when a student alerted the office that a boy had taken a gun into a classroom in the 300 wing.

Four Manteca officers responded to a call from Manteca High Principal Doug McCreath and met the student when he was ushered through the classroom door. They took him into custody without incident.

Schmiedt stressed that the positive outcome of the event proves that Manteca High is a safe haven for the teenagers who fill its classrooms every day.  The student who reported it did the right thing and may have prevented a tragedy.

She added that a serious internal school investigation is under way that will determine if any of the other students were aware of the presence of the gun on campus or who may have played a part with  the student in bringing it onto the school grounds.

“I want parents to know that the threat has been removed,” Schmiedt said.

Officers Jason Hensley and Eva Steele put the student in handcuffs and confiscated the gun outside the classroom away from the view of his classmates.  They took him to the police station where he was interrogated as to why he had the firearm in class.  He reportedly said he was holding onto it for a friend.  The fully loaded clip could have been put into the handle of the weapon in a matter of seconds, police said.

Detectives said the student was being very uncooperative with their line of questioning.  They could not divulge the source of the weapon, but noted it hadn’t been reported as being stolen.   Following the interrogation, he was taken to San Joaquin County Juvenile Hall charged with bringing a firearm onto school grounds and a separate violation of bringing ammunition onto a school campus.

Another sophomore, who was interviewed on the street after school let out, said the suspect had gone all the way through elementary school with him, noting he had always been a trouble maker.

The youth said he didn’t know that the suspect was actually the one who had been arrested, questioning why the boy’s friend hadn’t been arrested as well.

Four sophomore girls standing at the front of the school at the end of the day said they were surprised he had brought the gun on campus, saying they felt someone else had put him up to it – had pressured him. One added that she felt it was an effort to say, “Don’t mess with me.”

They, too, said they had been with the suspect in elementary school where they had seen him bullied in the seventh and eighth grades.

The school district official said that a “no tolerance policy” exists with the bringing of a gun on campus resulting in an automatic expulsion. If convicted, he will not be able to reenter any school within the Manteca Unified School District in the future.

Schmiedt said that his friends, who administrators later interviewed, also voiced surprise that he had brought the gun into their class.

“We’re very fortunate to have a police department we can count on – they were here immediately,” she added. “Safety is our number one concern.” Schmiedt further noted that it is just a very small portion of the student body that makes serious mistakes without thinking of the consequences.