2 high school students caught with guns on campus, police say

Police: Another gun also found on middle school property this week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Mandarin High School student and an 18-year-old Northside charter school student were caught Friday with guns on their respective campuses, according to police.

Xavier Gray, 18, was arrested Friday with a loaded gun in his book bag at Biscayne High Charter School on the Northside, police said. The gun had 14 rounds in it, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrest report.

Gray is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 30.

Across town, Davondre Smith, 17, had a loaded .380 handgun at Mandarin High on Friday morning and was also charged with possession of marijuana, Duval County School Board police said.

There were five rounds in the gun, which was reported stolen last year in a home burglary in St Johns County, according to the arrest report, which said Smith is known to leave campus to smoke pot, then return.

He was seen on the school’s surveillance system near the parking lot and school administrators went out to investigate, police said.

Mandarin High Principal Dr. Donna Richardson told parents that the weapon was immediately confiscated and Smith could be expelled.

No students or staff were hurt, and Richardson said her administration is pleased with the “responsiveness and cooperation of our students, staff and security teams.”

"It’s happened before, so, I guess it’s normal -- well, not normal, but it’s not scary," Mandarin sophomore Taylor said.

Richardson asked that parents talk with their children about the serious consequences of bringing a firearm or weapon on campus, encourage positive conflict resolution strategies and emphasize the importance of alerting a trusted adult whenever they feel threatened. 

"Sometimes, I believe it’s being bullied -- it could be just showing off a gun. I don’t know. It’s got to be stopped," Mandarin High parent Jim Hilton said.

Richardson also asked parents to monitor their children’s belongings and the items they might bring to school. 

"I used to go through my boy’s bookbags, their pockets; you know, you’ve got to keep up with it," grandparent Wynie Williams said. "I think it has to start at home. How can they bring it? You know, how did they get to school? On the bus? Did a parent drop them off? Parents have control of what the children have on them. Or they should have."

A letter on Friday's Mandarin High incident will be going home with students. Parents can call 904-260-3911 with any questions or concerns, Richardson said.

There have been three gun-in-school arrests in Duval County this school year. During the 2016-17 school year, there were 17 arrests in incidents that resulted in 11 guns, a Taser and a starter pistol being confiscated. 

Gun at middle school

A gun was also discovered on the property of JEB Stuart Middle School earlier this week, but no arrest was made in that case, police said.

According to the incident report, an off-duty Jacksonville police officer was approached by a woman who said she found a .22-caliber Derringer revolver on the ground near the parking lot after school hours. The gun, with five live rounds and one spent shell in the chamber, had not been reported stolen. 

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith, a former school resource officer, said the district is in a tough position when it comes to keeping campuses gun-free.

"It’s very difficult to stop that from happening unless you actually have metal detectors or some type of wanding when students come in," Smith said. "But there’s tremendous costs involved with that. Just to have metal detectors set up, it would cost $15,000-$20,000 per school."