Putnam County officer takes loaded gun from 12-year-old at middle school

INTERLACHEN, Fla. – Putnam County deputies and school officials say a loaded gun was brought on the campus of C.H. Price Middle School in Interlachen on Tuesday.

According to Sheriff Gator DeLoach, an anonymous tip was given by someone who said they believed a student had a gun. The tip was given around 3 p.m., right before school was dismissed.

A resource deputy detained the student, who was identified as 12-year-old Jaden Maurice Smith, a seventh grader. News4Jax has chosen to identify him because he is facing two felony charges, and DeLoach said he put many other students’ lives in danger.

“We’re not quite sure how it fell into his hands, but I believe he may have had the gun for a couple of days actually prior to bringing it to school,” DeLoach said.

Deloach said the handgun was loaded and that it had been stolen. During an evening news briefing, he pointed out that his son attends C.H. Price Middle School.

“You can imagine that it made my blood run cold the moment I got that phone call that there was a loaded handgun that was recovered at my son’s school,” he said. “The credit goes to school staff, the tipster who had the courage to come forward and Deputy (Colby) Eads for his quick and decisive action in getting this gun off of the student.”

DeLoach said the student is facing charges of illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm on school grounds.

The Sheriff’s Office said the school did not go into lockdown. Deputies said it was a better decision to quickly remove Smith from the other children. He will be sent to a juvenile detention facility in Volusia County.

“It’s time for parents to step up and take some responsibility for their children and ensure that they are not bringing things to school that they shouldn’t," DeLoach said.

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