Manuael Ernest Dillow has been charged with firing blank rounds at 12 Virginia students. (Kingsport Times)
"One for each student who was in there. And basically the charges result of inciting fear into the students," Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman told KSDK.com.
The incident occurred just days after the five-year-anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings, during which 32 people were shot by a mentally ill student.
The Kingsport Times reports that Manuael Ernest Dillow, 60, was teaching a welding class at an Abingdon, Virginia, vocational school when he reportedly "gathered" the attention of his students by forcing them to line up.
"He then pulled a 'blank firing handgun,' black in color, from the back waistband of his pants and discharged the weapon between four and ten shots in the direction of the line of the students," according to a police statement. "The 'report' of the firearm was similar to that of a firearm that fires a projectile, thus placing the students in fear, according to statements. No students were physically injured as a result of the incident."
Sheriff Newman said Dillow apparently borrowed the gun, which is not capable of shooting actual bullets, from another school department.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office says the charges levied against Dillow are all class 6 felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine. Dillow has since been released on a $20,000 bond.
The police department has not yet said why Dillow allegedly fired the blanks at the students, but he has been removed from his teaching position while the investigation continues.
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