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Cypress HS student suspended for disarming gunman?

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Cypress HS student suspended for disarming gunman?

By Matt Grant. CREATED Mar 1, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. - UPDATE: A teen who wrestled a loaded revolver away from a gun wielding 15-year-old, potentially saving a life, was suspended because he was "uncooperative" with school officials and law enforcement during their investigation, according to a new referral sent to the family.

Read the update here

A 16-year-old Cypress Lake High School student, who wrestled a loaded revolver away from a teen threatening to shoot, is being punished.

The student grappled the gun away from the 15-year-old suspect on the bus ride home Tuesday after witnesses say he aimed the weapon point blank at another student and threatened to shoot him.

The student, who Fox 4 has agreed not to identify and distort his voice because he fears for his safety, says there's "no doubt" he saved a life by disarming the gunman. And for that he was suspended for three days.

"I think he was really going to shoot him right then and there," the student said. "Not taking no pity."

The student says he wrestled the .22 caliber RG-14 Revolver away from the suspect, a football player, who witnesses say threatened to shoot a teammate on the school bus home because he had been arguing with his friend during practice.

"No doubt," the student said, "he was going to shoot him point blank."

The teen we spoke to and authorities both confirm the Revolver was loaded. According to the arrest report the suspect, who Fox 4 is not naming because he is a minor, was "pointing the gun directly" at another student and "threatening to shoot him."

That's when the student we spoke with says he and others tackled the teen and wrestled away the gun. The next day the school slapped him with a three day suspension.

"It's dumb," he said. "How they going to suspend me for doing the right thing?"

According to the referral, he was suspended for being part of an "incident" where a weapon was present and given an "emergency suspension."

"If they wouldn't've did what they had to do on that bus," the teen's mother said, "I think there would have been a lot of fatalities."

The mother agreed to talk with us in disguise. She can't understand why her son, who disarmed the gunman, was suspended.

"Those kids had to fight for their lives," she said. "All the kids that was involved in this they should have a pat on their backs because they did the right thing to save someone from burying their child."

According to the mother, the school suspended her son because he refused to cooperate in the investigation. She says he was scared.

Fox 4 asked the Lee County School District about the suspension.

"We cannot discuss specifics involving students," said district spokesman Alberto Rodriguez in a statement. "Florida law allows the principal to suspend a student immediately pending a hearing."

The district confirmed three students were suspended in all but wouldn't provide additional information citing privacy concerns.

On Thursday Fox 4 tried to get answers from Tracey Perkins, the principal of Cypress Lake High School.

"Were those students suspended?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant, before she drove off.

"Y'all should be ashamed of yourselves," the teen's mother said referring to the school's administration, adding that the suspended students "need their education."

The teen who wrestled the gun away can go back to school Monday, his mother said.

Despite the fact the suspect pointed a loaded gun at another student and threatened to shoot authorities charged him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon "without intent" to kill.

Fox 4 asked the Lee County Sheriff's Office office about that.

"The investigation is ongoing," said Sgt. David Valez in a statement. "The charges presented to [the suspect] are based on our findings at this time."

Authorities were unable to watch the school bus surveillance video because the cameras weren't working.

The 15-year-old suspect was arrested and charged with posession of a firearm on school property and assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.

He was taken to the juvenile assessment center.

Last month, a 14-year-old Mariner Middle School was arrested for bringing a .22 caliber gun and a Panther brand stungun to class.

Read the update here

School district statement

"The District has completed its investigation regarding an incident that took place on February 26, 2013, regarding multiple Cypress Lake High School students. The District is unable to comment regarding the specific disciplinary measures taken against specific students. However, it must be noted that during the initial investigation conducted by the administration of Cypress Lake High School the students involved refused to cooperate with school authorities regarding the events that occurred. As a result, appropriate disciplinary actions were taken at that time. Subsequently, law enforcement along with school officials have acquired additional information that has provided the complete picture of what occurred that day. Certain students involved have been and will be disciplined in accordance with that additional information consistent with the Code of Student Conduct and Florida law. The District will be making no further comment regarding this matter."

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com
 
Follow me on Twitter @MattGrantFox4