(COLUMBUS)(TRIBUNE) - A loaded handgun was discovered in a vehicle at Columbus North High School on Wednesday, but police say the weapon is not related to last week's incident that prompted a lockdown at the school.
Dalton Prewitt, 18, of Columbus, was arrested on preliminary charges of possession of a firearm on school property, a Class D felony and possession of a firearm without a permit, a Class A misdemeanor, after school administrators allegedly found the gun in his vehicle, which was parked in the far north end of the student lot.
Prewitt told authorities that the gun, a 9mm pistol, belonged to his parents, said Lt. Matt Myers, spokesman for Columbus Police Department.
A parent reported to school officials at about 10:45 a.m. that Prewitt allegedly had a shotgun in his vehicle that he had shown to other people, but the parent did not know when or where.
School officials checked with Prewitt, and he volunteered to open his vehicle for them to search, said Larry Perkinson, student assistance coordinator for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.
After school officials allegedly found the gun, they turned it over to Columbus Police Patrolman Chris Clapp and Lts. Joe Richardson and Gary Moody, who were at the school on an unrelated call.
Police do not believe Prewitt made any threats with the gun. They did not find a shotgun that the parent originally reported.
Perkinson said school policy is to expel students who bring weapons on to school property. He said school officials will conduct their own investigation, which includes speaking with the student and his family, before determining whether to expel him.
Myers said state law prohibits anyone other than police from having guns on school property.
He urged parents to make sure they talk with their children, especially those who hunt, about the importance of leaving weapons at home.
Myers said the gun allegedly found Wednesday is not related to the incident last Friday in which a student was accused of having a gun in a Columbus North classroom.
Police have not found a weapon in that case, and the student has not been charged or arrested.
The school was not locked down Wednesday as it was on Friday because the situation developed differently, Myers said.
In Friday's incident, police had first-hand information from students who reported they saw a gun inside the school. Columbus North and Columbus East were locked down until the situation was under control and the student who reportedly had the weapon was detained, Myers said.
Wednesday's incident developed from a parent's tip who did not personally witness the student with a weapon and did not know when or where he possibly displayed it.
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