Incredibly I’m just learning about a the break-in shown above at my children’s school over a month after if happened.
Surveillance video released by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office on Monday shows five masked subjects entering the Potowmack Elementary School in Sterling, Virginia armed with what appear to be assault rifles.
Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call from the school district’s operation center, where the invasion was noticed on surveillance cameras, arriving at the school around 10:27 PM on June 2, 2006.
The five teens, all of whom are 14-year-old boys, were located and fortunately no one was injured. A spokesman for Loudoun County Public Schools commended the “admirable restraint” shown by the responding officers that led to the arrest of the five teenage suspects without incident.
The juveniles, whose names are not being released due to their age, were turned over to the custody of their parents. Petitions have been obtained for each teen for unlawful entry, trespassing and weapons violations.
As it turns out the teenagers were carrying Airsoft BB guns, guns designed to look like actual weapons. The circumstances that led the teenagers into the elementary school are still a bit mysterious. The Sheriff’s Office says that the teens had been playing on the grounds of the school when it started to rain and they found an unlocked door into the school. However that version of events does not match other accounts, that indicate the the teens staked out the school and waited for the janitor to leave before they were able to enter the school by keeping a door unlocked with a piece of cardboard.
The video of the incident was not released, so it’s hard to tell whether the break-in and gunplay was some sort of Columbine-style fantasy game or a live-action, BB gun fueled, Doom game using the school and classrooms as a playing grid. Either way it’s disturbing to see the images above and know that my children roamed those same halls just hours earlier; and that the other parents and students at the school are just finding out about this now.
A spokesman for Loudoun County Public Schools confirms that all five boys were not students at the elementary school, but are students at county middle schools. Disciplinary action against all five boys is in progress.
The one undeniable fact in this case is that the five teenage suspects, given the authentic look of the weapons they were carrying, are lucky to be alive. Whatever the ultimate punishment handed down by the juvenile justice system and the school district, what the boys (and their parents) will hopefully never forget is that they could easily have been killed (justifiably) by the responding officers.
They were lucky; in other cases students with Airsoft guns were not.