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Police charge three Booker Middle School students after gun found on Sarasota school bus

Posted at 11:25 PM, Mar 23, 2017

Three Booker Middle School students were charged with possession of a firearm on school property after a gun was found on a school bus.

According to the Sarasota Police Department, another student noticed the gun and immediately told an adult. Officers removed the .38 caliber revolver from the bus near North Lockwood Ridge and Jolson Drive in Sarasota.

Detectives say the revolver was not loaded when Sarasota police detectives took possession of it. 

The three juveniles and one adult were also charged in connection with three residential burglaries and one vehicle burglary that occurred in the 400 block of Signal Pointe Circle (Bella Sol Apartments) in Sarasota on March 15. 

Two revolvers found at the apartments, including the one found on the school bus, were determined to have been stolen during one of the residential burglaries. 

Nicolas Maddens tells ABC Action News those guns are his, passed down from a relative as a family heirloom.

"Despair is the word that I would use for the entire experience," he said. 

He was shocked to hear the guns ended up in the hands of teens and on school property. 

"When I was a kid I dug holes in the ground or played sports," he said. 

During the investigation, detectives charged a fourth juvenile was charged for taking possession of the revolver and taking it to school. 

Juan A. Hernandez, 18, of Sarasota is charged with 3 counts of armed burglary to an occupied dwelling. 

The juveniles involved face the following charges:
One of the 14-year-old males:

  • 1 count of armed burglary to an occupied dwelling
  • 2 counts of unarmed burglary to a unoccupied dwelling

One of the 14-year-old males (student at Booker Middle School):

  • 1 count of principal to armed burglary of an occupied dwelling
  • 1 count of vehicle burglary, unoccupied
  • 1 count of possession of a firearm on school property

One of the 14-year-old males (student at Booker Middle School):

  • 1 count of possession of a firearm on school property

13-year-old male (student at Booker Middle School):

  • 1 count of principal to armed burglary of an occupied dwelling
  • 1 count of possession of a firearm on school property

"The original incident is disheartening, of course, but the end result was that everyone is safe. We're certainly glad about that," Scott Ferguson, Communications Specialist for Sarasota County Schools said.

Ferguson said district staff is investigating the incident. They will decide how the students will be disciplined. The district notified Booker Middle School parents about the incident.

"I hope they get to the bottom. I just really hope they get to the nitty and gritty of it," Khadeja Ingram, a parent whose son attends Booker Middle School said.

Parents said they were thankful nothing worse happened.

"It's just very dangerous to think that kids would bring guns to school," Keah Simmons, whose son attends Booker Middle School said.

Sarasota County school officials released a statement on Friday morning. 

"Situations that comprise student safety are not tolerated.

Law enforcement officials will keep us informed about the investigation, and since the students have been charged as juveniles with possession of a firearm on school property they will not be at school today.

The disciplinary process takes time and I can't predict when we will know the final outcome, but again, we don't discuss individual student discipline."