(Stillwater, Okla.) — An investigation is continuing into why a 13-year-old Ripley boy took a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic Ruger pistol, a bayonet and a dagger to school in his backpack last week, Payne County Sheriff’s Captain Kevin Woodward said.
Commending students and staff at the Ripley school for acting rapidly before classes began, the sheriff’s captain said, “The good thing is nothing bad happened at the school. No one was injured. Other students told the staff about the incident. They acted quickly.”
“We have a reserve deputy, Dennis Hughes, who used to be a Ripley police officer and works at the school as a janitor. He does patrol Ripley for the Sheriff’s Office. That’s how we got involved.
“The deputy was called to the principal’s office in regard to the pistol. The principal saw it first.
“When the deputy got there at 8:20 a.m. last Thursday, the kid was already in the principal’s office,” the sheriff’s captain noted.
Asked if the student had been bullied and why he took the weapons to school, the sheriff’s captain replied, “That’s part of the criminal investigation.”
“We know of no threats to harm anyone at the school,” he added.
The student was brought to the Payne County Jail where he was processed “like everybody else,” the sheriff’s captain said.
But the boy did not spend the night in the jail, which is not authorized to hold juveniles, he said.
“He was transported to an Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) facility (last) Thursday. He went to court Friday and bonded out. He is now in his parents’ custody,” the sheriff’s captain said.
Payne County District Attorney Laura Thomas said in an email, “The boy did appear in juvenile court Monday where he was served with a delinquent petition alleging possession of a weapon on school property.
“The juvenile was initially detained by order of the court. He is out on bond and back home.
“Juveniles don’t go into OJA custody until after adjudication (trial) and there has been no adjudication yet.
“If he is adjudicated delinquent, he would be supervised by OJA and the court, the length of which would depend upon his actions and compliance with probationary rules and rules of the court.
“There is no prior history involving this juvenile. It is our understanding that he has been suspended for the school year.”
Ripley School Superintendent Kenny Beams said, “He’s a junior high student who made a really unfortunate mistake. Regretfully, it’s going to cost him a year of education,” since the boy was suspended.
“The students did exactly what we ask them to do, to speak up. They reported their suspicions to the school administration.
“We ask all of our students to be vigilant, to be aware.
“We know of no intent to harm anyone,” the Ripley school superintendent said.
“We’re proud of our students, staff, and Deputy Hughes.
“It was reported very early, just as the buses rolled in.
“Within 10 minutes, he was in the office.
“The bag was searched before the bulk of the student body got here or out of the cafeteria.
“It was very quickly handled,” the school superintendent emphasized.