Sullivan County

Teenager charged with pointing gun at three on school bus

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - A student from Sullivan North is facing charges after officers say he brought a gun on a school bus and aimed it at three different people.

Officers said the person responsible is only 17 years old.

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office told us it all started on Friday morning, but wasn't reported until Monday.

"We had no knowledge of anything on Friday," said Evelyn Rafalowski, a department supervisor for the school district.

She told us once someone told the school district what happened, the school resource officer got involved.

"The Sheriff's Department was notified immediately," Rafalowski said.

Witnesses on the bus said he pointed the gun at three people, including the bus driver, who wasn't looking.

Officers told us before getting off the bus, he hid the gun in a storage container on the bus and got it back later that afternoon on the way home.

Students said, they don't know how the gun went unnoticed.

"They usually check each seat before they do anything," said Morgan Harris, an eighth grader. "I guess they didn't check that day."

Rafalowski said there was a camera on board the bus but the Sheriff's Department told us it wasn't working.

"That's scary to think that no one found out about a gun," said Harris.

"No one found out about it until Monday," said Hope Anderson, an eighth grader."That's crazy."

Parents told us they're also concerned it took so long for someone to report it to the school district.

They said it worries them that the school didn't pass along the information until Wednesday.

"We got a call about 3:30 p.m. stating not pay any attention really to anything going on and that's all we got," said Tonya Bean, a mother of two students in the school system. "I think it's crazy and I think we should've been notified Monday."

Another parent, Daniel Maupin, agreed. He found out about the incident on Facebook.

"It's concerning, I mean I think we should've been notified sooner," he said. "If something like this happens, I think it needs to be communicated very quickly and effectively to the parents so they can make decisions based on that information."

Maupin told us that he thinks the school should provide text alerts to parents in these situations, like they do when there are snowy road conditions.

Rafalowski and parents both agreed the best way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure you know what your children are taking to school everyday.

The 17-year-old who brought the gun on the bus, is now at the Johnson City Juvenile Detention Center.

He has been charged with carrying a weapon on school property, aggravated assault, and three counts of reckless endangerment, according to the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.

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