Student arrested after gun found at Jacksonville school

Students will now be screened by metal detectors each day

Tarik Williams was accused having a gun in his backpack at A. Philip Randolph Career Academies.
Tarik Williams was accused having a gun in his backpack at A. Philip Randolph Career Academies.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A student at a Duval County school was arrested Tuesday after a gun and ammunition were found on campus, according to the school district.

According to an arrest report, Tarik Williams, 17, had his backpack searched at A. Philip Randolph Career Academies following an unspecified altercation early that morning.

News4Jax has chosen to name the student because of the gravity of the allegations.

An unloaded 45-caliber firearm and magazine holding three rounds of ammunition were discovered and Williams was arrested. No students or staff were hurt.

According to the arrest report, the gun found in Williams’ possession was stolen. News4Jax has requested more information from JSO.

“Being that I just lost my fiancé to gun violence it’s very scary,” Pamela Westmoreland, an A. Phillip Randolph Career Academies parent, said. “It’s scary as a parent because you know you don’t want your kid to be shot or dead.”

Because the vocational school had a firearm arrest last year, all students will now be screened with metal detectors each day before entering the school. The new procedure went into place Wednesday.

“We will not tolerate weapons of any form on campus,” Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said. “While these incidents are rare, one is too many. Students who make this mistake will face the consequences of the criminal justice system as well as expulsion from public school.”

Dr. Greene told News4Jax A. Philip Randolph has some phenomenal students and they just received a National Academy Designation.

“Our goal is to ensure that they can continue the great things happening at A. Philip Randolph and students should be safe,” Dr. Greene said.

The school department said this was the 6th gun-in-school incident this year, but that’s the calendar year. For the 2018-2019 school year, there were 10 incidents that resulted in 5 arrests. Two of the incidents involved air softs, and two were BB guns.

This is the first gun-in-school incident for the 2019-2020 school year.

News4Jax Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson said this is a felony charge that will follow the teen for the rest of his life.

“Even though he did not pull it out, even though it was not loaded, he did have the weapon,” Jefferson said. “He did have the ammunition and he had the ability to do all of that. You must take it very seriously.”

Anyone with information about a possible threat to a school is encouraged to report it through the state’s Fortify Florida online app.

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