Student arrested after gun found at Mandarin High

Jose Soto, 18, faces felony charge

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor, Francesca Amiker - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Just days into the new school year, a student was arrested Tuesday after a gun was found in a car at Mandarin High School, according to Duval County Public Schools.

Jose Soto, 18, was booked into the Duval County Jail on a felony charge of possession of a firearm on school grounds. 

The student told school administrators Tuesday morning that he had a firearm on school grounds, DCPS spokeswoman Laureen Ricks said in a statement. 

School officials said the student was arrested after a gun was discovered in a vehicle parked on campus.

The student will also face discipline under the Student Code of Conduct.

"It is a new school year, and we are encouraging parents and guardians to please discuss this incident with their children as well as monitor the items he or she may bring to school," Ricks said in the statement.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said the student did the right thing by telling administrators, but the act is a felony. 

"Unfortunately, that's bringing a weapon to school grounds. The parking lot is still school grounds, so the police were correct in making their arrest. That's what they had to do," Smith said. 

Though the gun was not used, Smith said the incident could have been much worse, especially if the gun had gotten into the wrong hands.

"This could have been a very dangerous situation because cars are broken into in school parking lots. And someone could have broken into the car, and taken out the gun. And it could have been a violent situation at the school," Smith said. 

News4Jax went to Soto's home Tuesday and his grandfather answered the door. He said the family was too distraught to speak.

Soto is scheduled to make his first appearance before a judge Wednesday morning, Duval County Jail records show. 

According to News4Jax records, there were 10 incidents of guns on school grounds and eight arrests in the 2015-16 school year.

During the 2014-15 school year, there were 14 such incidents with 18 arrests. 

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