Bethel Park boy charged with showing weapon on school bus

Published Jun 3, 2014 at 11:41 am (Updated Jun 3, 2014 at 11:41 am)

A 17-year-old Bethel Park boy, whose name was not released because of his age, was placed in the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center after he showed a semi-automatic handgun to another student in an alternative education program on a Bethel Park School District bus May 28.

The alternative education program has 15 students and operates in the district from 2:30-7 p.m. four days a week, said district spokeswoman Vicki Flotta.

Bethel Park police Chief John Mackey said the boy showed the gun to the other student and no one was injured or threatened.

The other student notified the teacher upon reaching the program, with the teacher then notifying the administration and then police, Flotta said.

“We credit our staff and students with knowing what to do in situations like this and we thank the Bethel Park Police Department for their assistance,” Flotta said.

Mackey said police spoke with the boy May 29, and at first he was uncooperative. However, the boy’s father gave permission to search the family home, where police found the .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun. Then, Mackey said, police notified the officer interviewing the boy at the police station and the boy admitted he had shown it on the school bus.

Juvenile allegations were filed involving several weapons charges, including possession of the firearm without a license and possession of a firearm on school property. The boy was taken to Shuman, however, Mackey said he is unaware of the boy’s current whereabouts. There will be a hearing in juvenile court in Pittsburgh at an unspecified date in June, Mackey said.

Flotta said there has not been sufficient time for the school district to decide what, if any, action will be taken by the district against the boy. A letter was sent to parents of high school students following the incident.

“The Bethel Park School District is thankful that a potentially dangerous situation was averted and is appreciative of the efforts of the students who came forward to share what they knew,” Flotta said. “Once we became aware of the situation, our administration and security staff reacted immediately and appropriately to handle the situation.”

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