A 17-year-old student is facing felony charges for possession of a firearm on school property, accused of brining a gun to Mandarin High School on Thursday.
About 24 hours after his arrest, the Duval County School Board police identified the student as Deion Perez. In addition to the gun charge, he also accused of dealing in stolen property.
According to the arrest report, the school resource officer was notified about 11:45 a.m. that there was a student on campus with a gun. He and his sergeant went to the classroom where another student reported seeing Perez with his hand on a gun. The witness told his teacher, who sent him to the office to report the gun.
Police said Perez was located and they found a loaded Glock 9mm pistol in his waistband. The report said there was a round in the chamber and 14 bullets in the magazine.
Asked why he had the gun, Perez told the officers "he was having a 'beef' with some guys on the Westside and needed it for protection."
The report says Perez claimed he bought the gun from "a dude on the Westside" about two years ago for $150. A check of records found that the gun was stolen.
After Perez's arrest, police interviewed a second witness who said he never saw the gun, but saw Perez resting his hand on what he though might be a gun under his sweatshirt.
The principal, Dr. Donna Richardson, used the school district's robo-call system to leave the following message on parent's answering machines:
"This is Principal Richardson, calling to advise you of an incident where the outstanding commitment of our students contributed to the safety of our campus. Today, a Mandarin High student was arrested following the report of a gun seen in his possession on campus. We are pleased with the immediate support and responsiveness of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, students, and staff. Weapons on our campus will not be tolerated. Any student with them faces penalties that include recommendation for expulsion. Please talk to your child about our discovery today and encourage him or her to continue efforts that keep our campus safe. Feel free to contact me with any questions."
The school district released this statement Friday:
"The safety of our students continues to be a top priority for Duval County Public Schools. As a result of the support and commitment of students to efforts and practices that contribute to the safety of our campuses, we discovered a student in possession of a weapon. Immediately upon discovery, we alerted school police and JSO who removed the weapon and student from school grounds, while assessing the safety of our campus. Our Student Code of Conduct identifies this behavior as a major violation with disciplinary action that could include a recommendation for expulsion.
"We recognize that this outcome is a direct result of the responsiveness and cooperation of our students, administrators and security teams. We will continue to enact emergency operations procedures and encourage students and parents to continue such efforts that promote and build safety."