School police chief: Tip leads to discovery of firearm hidden beneath GA sink

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Larry Hobbs, The Brunswick News, Ga.
·3 min read
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Feb. 16—A 15-year-old Glynn Academy freshman stashed an unloaded handgun under a boys' restroom sink on campus, a mystery that unfolded Monday as students were off for Presidents Day, Schools Police Chief Rod Ellis said.

The student in question led Ellis and school officials to the gun Monday evening after questioning by Ellis and prodding by his grandparents on Blythe Island. He has been suspended, pending a school system tribunal. Additionally, Ellis will charge the teen as a juvenile with possession of a weapon on campus, two counts of theft by taking and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.

Ellis turned the boy over to the care of his grandparents.

"The gun had no magazine and no bullets," Ellis said. "It was incapable of firing in the state it was in."

It started Sunday night when Ellis received a call from a trusted source that a student had seen another student carrying a gun on the GA campus. That student was reluctant to name the one with gun, but eventually he did, Ellis said.

Ellis went Monday afternoon to where the teen lives with his grandparents on Blythe Island. The boy denied knowledge of anything, both to Ellis and his grandparents. The grandfather then conducted an inventory of his firearms. He was missing two handguns, a 9 mm and .25 caliber automatic, Ellis said.

Still, the teen claimed he knew nothing. Ellis then contacted Glynn County Police to report two stolen handguns.

"My concern at this point was getting those guns off the street," Ellis said. "There's two guns potentially on the street. That's the No. 1 priority. And we all came to the conclusion that the kid was not being truthful with us."

Ellis later joined GA Principal Matthew Blackstone at the campus to look for a backpack the teen could not account for at home, thinking maybe the guns were in it.

Around 6 p.m., the grandparents called Ellis. They had found a holster and the 9 mm handgun hidden in a shed out back. Later, the grandparents called again. The teen was ready to reveal the location of the other stolen gun.

The teen arrived on campus. He showed Ellis and Blackstone where he had hidden it days later, beneath a sink in a boys' restroom.

"It was there all the time at Glynn Academy," Ellis said. "He walked right into the bathroom and pointed underneath the sink. It was the only gun he had taken to school, and it didn't have a magazine in it. He was showing off for some buddies, and he got scared they were going to tell on him so he hid it."

Police have not determined exactly when he hid the gun at school, Ellis said. The investigation continues. He praised the grandparents for their assistance.

"The kid came clean to them, not me," Ellis said. "They extracted the information."

While he was pleased that a student felt obliged to report the incident, he encouraged students to speak up immediately when they suspect a danger on campus.

"This can only underscore the importance that if somebody sees something that doesn't look right, anything, they should not hesitate," Ellis said. "Contact us — ASAP."