Police: Teen carrying two loaded guns arrested at Catholic school

The 16-year-old was found with a ski mask, according to police

By Corley Peel - Reporter, Frank Powers - Assignment manager

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - A 16-year-old boy was arrested Friday morning at St. Paul’s Catholic School in Jacksonville Beach after he was found carrying two loaded handguns, authorities said.

An off-duty officer was called to the school campus on 2nd Avenue North about 11 a.m. after staff noticed the teen walking on school property, according to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.

Once the officer arrived, he confronted the teen, who had two semiautomatic handguns on him, police said. The teen also was wearing a knit cap that was found to be a ski mask when it was unrolled.

Police said the teen gave him a series of bogus names before he was eventually identified as 16-year-old Derrick L. Conner, who is not a student at the school or from Jacksonville Beach.

Conner was apparently dropped off in the area, though his intentions remain unclear. Police said the teen would not speak with investigators beyond providing fake names.

Conner was arrested on two counts of possession of a firearm on school property, one count of possession of a firearm by a delinquent juvenile and a count of giving a false name to police.

In a statement, Sgt. Larry Smith praised school staff for their close cooperation with police. “We would like to reiterate, ‘If you see something, say something,’” Smith said.

The school's principal, Krissy Thompson, sent out a statement to parents letting them know about the incident, though it did not acknowledge that the teen was armed or had a ski mask on him:

Today, our school safety officer approached a suspicious person who was walking on 1st Avenue. Upon investigation, the officer handcuffed him and he was taken to the police station for further questioning. This is a police matter.  Please know our campus is safe and the security procedures in place were followed by all.  We are so fortunate to have our Jacksonville Beach Police department on our campus and we so appreciate their diligence in keeping our students safe.

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