Barstow High School custodian arrested on suspicion of having firearm on school grounds

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Barstow High School custodian Darren Haverlock, 32, was arrested after police discovered that he was in possession of a loaded firearm on school property.
Barstow High School custodian Darren Haverlock, 32, was arrested after police discovered that he was in possession of a loaded firearm on school property.

A Barstow High School employee was arrested on suspicion of having a loaded firearm on school grounds.

Darren Haverlock, a 32-year-old Barstow resident, was arrested at BHS on Thursday and booked at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Barstow jail on suspicion of possessing a firearm in a gun-free school zone.

He was released on bail the same day. He is not scheduled to appear in SBC Superior Court, according to sheriff’s officials.

Haverlock began working for the Barstow Unified School District in 2016 as a custodian, according to Transparent California.

Barstow Unified School District

School District spokesman Marseilles Chavez on Friday told the Daily Press that Haverlock is on paid leave and that the BUSD will take “appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.”

Chavez also stated that he’s not aware of any other employee being found with a firearm on school grounds.

He also mentioned that Haverlock was the BUSD's Classified Employee of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year.

Firearm discovered

Barstow Police officials reported that at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Officer George Gatti received information regarding a BHS employee possessing a firearm while on school grounds.

The employee was later identified as Haverlock, who had left work before he was reported to Gatti, who coordinated with BHS officials to contact the custodian when he returned to school the following day.

At approximately 6:40 a.m. on Thursday, officers Gatti, Gavin Riley, and Louie Miranda went to BHS. Upon arrival, officers contacted Haverlock and explained their visit. A bag belonging to Haverlock was later located in his work area.

Haverlock’s bag was searched and Officer Riley recovered a loaded 9mm Springfield XD pistol with ten live rounds in the magazine. A records check of the firearm revealed the pistol was registered to Haverlock, who was arrested.

The last day of school at BHS was on May 26, with the last day for teachers the following day. Teachers are scheduled to return on Aug. 3, with the first school day on Aug. 8.

California Penal Code Section 626.9, also known as the “California Gun-Free Zone Act,” states that it is illegal to knowingly possess a loaded or unloaded firearm or to discharge one in a school zone.

A school zone is defined as an area in or on the grounds of a public or private school or within 1,000 feet of those grounds.

Active shooter training    

In March, BHS held an active shooter training scenario on campus to give staff, students, and law enforcement an understanding of what to do in the event of an emergency at the school.

"Our staff members, teachers, administrators, classified staff did a great job during the drill, along with Barstow Police Department, in making sure that we put in systems that work in the event of a real situation," said Principal Dr. Frank Jimenez in a news release.

Teachers and office staff followed through with lessons learned in training seminars, protecting students and assisting law enforcement and first responders throughout the drill.

Law enforcement and first responders were positioned throughout the campus, assisting staff and students, many of whom were made up to look injured, and searching for and capturing the students tasked with acting like the perpetrators.

During that time, Assistant Principal Michael Sterner said he appreciated the support and participation from the Barstow Fire Protection District, the California Highway Patrol - Barstow office, San Bernardino County Probation Department, Barstow Police and the Sheriff's Department.

Community feedback

On Friday morning, the BPD’s Facebook page received nearly 300 comments, primarily supporting Haverlock.

Derek Melton wrote that Havelock has always been “nothing but generous” to anyone he’s encountered and that his “parents are good people as well.”

Melton’s comment received nearly 65 approval clicks.

Tj Menie wrote that Haverlock has always been a “Good dude” and that he’s sure he had the firearm for protection.

“Maybe they should allow more teachers and school employees to carry, and maybe there would be fewer school shootings, or if there is one, at least they can protect the kids,” Menie said.

Crystal Nicole wrote that Haverlock is “an amazing human being, a damn hard worker and never complains, he is great with the kids!”

Nicole added that Haverlock’s firearm was registered, and he didn't run or hide the firearm. She also guaranteed “100%” that he would protect any student in danger.

“The only thing he did wrong was take it onto campus,” said Nicole, who added that Haverlock should have left his firearm in his car.

Mark Gibbon praised Officer Gatti for his outstanding job of “making Barstow a safer place to live.”Mercy Hernandez also thanked Barstow Police for another “good job.

Anyone with additional information regarding the investigation is asked by the Barstow Police Department to contact Officer Gavin Riley at 760-256-2211 or griley@barstowca.org.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may also provide information regarding this case by calling the WE-TIP hotline at 1-800-79-CRIME (27469) or by going to wetip.com.

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz

This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Barstow school custodian arrested for having loaded firearm on campus