Crime

Second student charged in connection with loaded gun brought to Belleville West

Belleville West cancels class after report of student with weapon

Cars line up as classes were canceled for the day Monday after authorities received a report that a Belleville West High School student may have had a weapon on campus.
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Cars line up as classes were canceled for the day Monday after authorities received a report that a Belleville West High School student may have had a weapon on campus.

A second Belleville West High School student has been charged in connection with the loaded gun incident that forced authorities to evacuate the school on Monday.

A 15-year-old was charged on Thursday with possession of a stolen firearm, unlawful use of a weapon on school grounds, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon without a FOID card, unlawful possession of a firearm and theft, a news release from the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office stated. All but the theft charge are felonies.

The release did not state what the second student’s role is in the incident or if that student was in police custody. A spokesman from the State’s Attorney’s Office said he could not comment on if the gun had been found. The student’s name is not being released by authorities.

On Wednesday, a 15-year-old male student was charged with four counts related to the incident. That student is being held in police custody for 30 days pending adjudication before the Juvenile Court Division.

The school was placed on lockdown Monday before students were released room by room when a student told authorities that he’d brought a loaded gun to school and someone had stolen it out of his backpack.

After a police search of the building Monday afternoon, District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier called parents to let them know no weapons had been found inside the school.

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Two juveniles have now been charged in connection with reports that a Belleville West High School student may have had a weapon on campus. Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

Dosier also called parents on Thursday afternoon to inform them of the charges brought against the second student. On Wednesday, he’d called to reassure parents that threats against the school that had been circulating on social media were deemed not credible by police.

Dosier said it was too early to comment on the potential disciplinary action that could be taken in this case. He said police were given security video to review.

Police investigated an alleged threat against Belleville West in mid-December, after multiple people had overheard a student make the threat and then posted about it on social media.

It was later deemed not credible.

The school district just “tries to stay ahead” in situations like these, Dosier told the BND at the time.

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Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.
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