Belleville West student charged after brandishing weapon

News-DemocratJune 5, 2014 

Vantezz D. Carter.

PROVIDED/BND

An 18-year-old Belleville West student is facing a misdemeanor charge after police responded to a report of a student with a gun in a vehicle on campus Thursday morning.

The gun turned out to be an air-soft style handgun, but authorities locked down campus for a short time while police investigated.

Police charged Vantezz D. Carter of Belleville with one count of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. Carter posted bond and was released.

A parent driving on campus about 10 a.m. observed a male subject, later identified by police as Carter, pointing a gun at a group of football players out the window of a vehicle.

Belleville police, St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, Metro East Auto Theft Task Force and Millstadt police responded to the campus and conducted a felony traffic stop.

Belleville Detective Sgt. Mark Heffernan said police searched the car and detained three people. They seized five air soft-style handguns as evidence.

"These guns could easily be mistaken for real firearms," he said, "because there are no orange safety markings on the guns."

Heffernan said Carter was identified as the person -- sitting in the rear passenger seat -- who pointed the gun out the window of the vehicle. He was taken into custody by police.

No injuries were sustained during the incident.

The last day of school at Belleville West was May 30 so there weren't a lot of students on campus, according to Belleville School District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier. The school is hosting various sports camps this week, he said.

Dosier said he's thankful an observant parent saw what happened and called police.

"There's no such thing as playing with that. If it looks like a weapon, we treat it like it's a weapon," he said.

Students need to understand they can't bring anything that looks like a weapon to school, Dosier said.

"I don't know how many times kids are going to have to get into major trouble," he said. "It's just a shame kids do not get that message."

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com. Follow her on Twitter at @BND_JForsythe.

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