Officials at Harbor City East High School in Baltimore, aided by city school police, seized a loaded gun and seven knives Wednesday as they searched students for weapons when they entered the building.
A handheld metal detector wand sounded when swiped over the backpack of a 17-year-old senior at the alternative school, said Antonio Williams, chief of the city school police. Inside the backpack, the principal and police officers found a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun loaded with four bullets. The gun holds five bullets, one of which had been fired.
Williams said there was no indication the boy intended to use the gun at school. Police also found knives on six students and a discarded knife outside the school.
The boy with the gun and the six students with knives were suspended and detained by police, school officials said. The boy with the gun remained in custody yesterday. The other students were released.
Carrying a weapon to school results in an automatic long-term suspension, with the possibility of expulsion, said Linda Chinnia, the school system's chief academic officer.
It was the fourth time this school year that city school police officers, together with principals, have searched students for weapons as they entered school, Williams said. The other searches were conducted at the Walbrook and Southwestern high school complexes, and at Hamilton Middle School. One gun was seized in the Walbrook search and one in the Southwestern search.
Chinnia said the searches are part of a larger strategy to curb school violence. She said weapons-related incidents in city schools are down 40 percent from this time last school year.