Broward County Public Schools had their first day Monday, and two people have already been arrested for bringing guns to campus.
A man was arrested after he brought a loaded gun to a Broward elementary school’s open house on Friday evening, ahead of the first day of school, and a Coconut Creek High School student was arrested on the first day after coming to campus with a loaded handgun in his backpack, officials said.
In Hollywood, police were called to 6301 Hollywood Blvd., the address of West Hollywood Elementary School, about 8 p.m. about a gun found on the campus. Deanna Bettineschi, a department spokesperson, said Tuesday evening that Thomas Richardson, 24, of Miramar, was at the school for the meet-and-greet.
It was not immediately clear Tuesday evening whether Richardson attended the open house as the parent of a student. A probable cause affidavit said only that Richardson was attending the event.
A staff member at the school found an unattended bag on the floor near a bookshelf in room 141, the affidavit said, with the loaded gun inside and handed it over to the school’s principal, who then called officers.
Richardson tried to get his bag back and was arrested in the classroom, the affidavit said. Surveillance footage showed him wearing the bag that the staff member found with the gun inside.
Richardson was arrested on one count of possession of a firearm on school property. He was booked into the Broward Main Jail and has since been released on bond.
In Coconut Creek, a 15-year-old boy from North Lauderdale showed the handgun in his backpack to another student on campus some time Monday afternoon, said Sgt. Scotty Leamon, a spokesperson for Coconut Creek Police. The student did not brandish the weapon or threaten anyone, Leamon said.
The teen faces two felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon on school grounds, minor in possession of a weapon and a third misdemeanor charge, Leamon said.
Possessing a gun on school grounds is a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to a $5,000 fine if convicted and a sentence of up to five years.