Updated:EAST POINT, Ga. —
A metro Atlanta school is making changes to its safety procedures after a former student brought a handgun in the building, school leaders said.
Tri-Cities High School’s principal said the gun wasn’t loaded, and school resource officers took the suspect into custody at the bus ramp. School leaders said the gun fell out of his pocket when they caught up with him. In light of the incident, the school is changing how it handles students coming in and out after school.
Students at the East Point school were nervous as the news spread.
“They should put them in jail automatically if you even bring a gun onto school property. That's not right,” student Destiny West told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri.
West said officers were holding down the suspect when the gun dropped.
Principal Dan Sims said a 16-year-old former student came into the school's gym Friday around 4 p.m., and a resource officer in the parking lot spotted him.
“He noticed the kid first. He radioed ahead. A teacher saw him. He started running. A counselor saw him and by that time, less than two minutes, we apprehended this young man,” Sims said.
The school sent text messages and called parents to alert them of the incident. Sims said it’s unclear why the teen was at the school.
“There were absolutely no motives that were indicated as to why he came up to the building,” he said.
The school has three resource officers assigned to the main entrance and points inside and outside the building.
Student Jahmad Juluke said he would like to see more focus on the bus ramp area, which is open to the surrounding neighborhood.
“This area obviously is very open. Anybody can get in and out. So just have somebody that can just sit her and watch what goes on here,” Juluke said.
Sims said the gym door is unlocked because students come in from portable classrooms. Because of that, he said staff and school resource officers keep a close eye on that entrance. The school is now implementing a no-leave policy for students staying after school.
“Every student who is here for after school activities, they're required to stay in the building. That helps us patrol the in-and-out processes during dismissal time,” he said.