Police say library book loans lead to student gun arrest

by: Mark Winne Updated:

Graeme Helmer is accused of two counts of possession of a weapon on school property.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. - A student from Independence High School in Alpharetta is facing charges for having weapons in his car.

His lawyer said the student willingly let authorities search his vehicle.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne found out the student's book choices from the school library started it all.

His lawyer said Graeme Helmer woke up Thursday and went to Independence High School and then the next day he awoke in the Fulton County Jail.

Helmer is accused of two counts of possession of a weapon on school property.

"My intention and hope is to try to produce the evidence necessary to give the state a reason to believe that this is not what they initially believed," Helmer's lawyer Charles Lea said.

Winne obtained a "statement of witness" by an officer with the Fulton County Schools Police Department.

The statement suggests a counselor directed the school resources officer at Independence High toward Helmer.

"(The) accused/student checked out several books concerning hate crimes, school shootings, etc. which raised the alarm of school officials."

The statement went on to say, "A meeting with the parents of the accused was arranged who concurred with the safety concerns of school officials."

The statement says a subsequent patrol of the school parking lot revealed a, "Military-issue knife on the driver's seat"

Documents also refer to another military style knife secured after speaking with the accused, along with two Airsoft pistols.

"It was only after the parents left that they asked to go look in Graeme's vehicle and Graeme said certainly," Lea said.

Lea said he's aware of an email sent out by the school principal the saying at one point said, "As alarming as this sounds, please know that this situation was handled swiftly and immediately. The learning process was not disrupted and students and staff were not in harm's way."

"No he was not plotting anything. I think the school acted appropriately when they saw what objectively speaking would be signs of a concern," Lea said. "It doesn't add up to what the school was imagining it might."