The 9-year-old boy accused of bringing a loaded gun to a Middletown elementary school last week has been in the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center before, according to court documents.
On Thursday, the boy allegedly brought a gun to Amanda Elementary School, 1300 Oxford State Road, and placed it in his back pack inside his locker. Following an investigation by Middletown police, the boy was charged with illegal conveyance or possession of a deadly weapon onto school grounds, theft of a firearm and inducing panic.
He was transported to the Juvenile Detention Center where he’s awaiting a pretrial hearing set for Sept. 28 before Judge Kathy Romans, said Rob Clevenger, director of the justice center.
The boy’s court-appointed attorney is Mark Raines.
On July 10 and Aug. 11, the boy allegedly stole his parent’s car and he was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, according to the court. After allegedly stealing the car July 10, he was sentended July 31 and sent to the detention center, according to court documents. He was released Aug. 20.
A woman who answered the phone at the boy’s residence Tuesday said he was still in the detention center and was “going to be in there for a while.” She declined to answer any other questions.
Attorney Liza Kotlarsic, the court-appointed guardian ad litem tasked with fighting for the boy’s best interests, said he was too young to stay in Butler County’s juvenile detention facility. She said the court ordered Butler County Children’s Services to perform an investigation into the boy’s residence.
Kotlarsic said because of the severity of his offenses, she’s concerned for his safety as well as the safety of two children — ages 2 and 4 — who also live in the home.
Butler County Children’s Services could place the boy with a relative, if a reliable one is located, or in foster care, she said.
On Thursday, when school officials were notified that a loaded gun may be in a locker, Amanda Elementary Principal Beth Hendricks called police around 11:30 a.m., according to the police report. The boy was brought to the office. Before school was dismissed, an all-call to parents was made, said Middletown Superintendent Sam Ison.
“This is Beth Hendricks, principal of Amanda Elementary School:
I wanted to let you know because of our diligent staff, we discovered a student had brought a weapon to school. Once discovered, we quickly secured the building and our SRO officer removed the student. Everyone is safe and our staff is to be commended on handling the very delicate situation. We look forward to having everyone back to school for a regular day tomorrow (Friday).”
Rodney Muterspaw, Middletown police chief, said no shots were fired and there were no injuries.
Ison said classes were held Friday and Monday without incident. He credited Hendricks and her staff for handling a potentially dangerous situation “beautifully.”
Ison, who went to the school Thursday, said only a few of the students knew about the situation before they arrived home Thursday.
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