Evergreen gun scare one of several at local schools

Skyview student arrested for allegedly having pellet gun in school parking lot

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

Updated: December 13, 2012, 9:44 PM

 

A 15-year-old student appeared in Clark County Juvenile Court on Thursday for allegedly bringing his father’s combination rifle/shotgun to Evergreen High School a day earlier in order to sell it to another student. It was one of two cases Wednesday when police responded to a student who brought a weapon to school.

A 17-year-old student at Skyview High School was also arrested Wednesday for allegedly bringing a pistol into the school’s parking lot, said Sgt. Fred Neiman, spokesman for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

School district officials said the pistol was either a pellet gun or BB gun, and said that there was never a direct threat to the school. Such air pistols are forbidden under district policy on firearms and dangerous weapons.

Neiman could not confirm that the pistol was an air pistol or firearm. He said a student reported seeing another student with the pistol in the parking lot of the school around 11:45 a.m. Deputies do not believe the student took the air gun inside the school, he said.

School security responded and found the student in the parking lot with a pistol visible inside his locked car, Neiman said. The student was detained and later arrested by sheriff’s deputy Jon Shields, the school resource officer at Skyview.

Tom Hagley, executive director of community and government relations, said there was no lockdown at Skyview and no direct threat to the school.

The student, whose name was not available, was booked into the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of brandishing a weapon and possession of a weapon on school grounds, Neiman said.

Shields had the suspect’s car towed and obtained a warrant to search it Thursday afternoon.

The gun scare at Evergreen — and heightened sensitivity following Tuesday’s deadly shooting at Clackamas Town Center in the Portland area — prompted a few other investigations around the county on Wednesday.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Shane Gardner said students at Heritage High School approached the school’s resource officer to report that a student had made comments about having a firearm in the days before the shooting at Clackamas Town Center. The deputy interviewed several students but found the student did not have a gun at school, Gardner said.

A misunderstanding between students at Prairie High School also prompted a brief scare on Wednesday, Gardner said. Apparently a student heard others talking about the situation at Evergreen High but thought it was happening at Prairie, Gardner said.

Evergreen student appears in court

Wyatt Michael Ball, the Evergreen student, is accused of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and having a dangerous weapon on school grounds. He may face other charges, including theft of a firearm, at his arraignment, scheduled for Tuesday.

The rifle, with an interchangeable barrel that enables it to also function as a shotgun, caused widespread alarm, as area residents were still reeling from the shooting at Clackamas Town Center that killed three people, including the gunman, and injured one.

Evergreen High School was evacuated and shut down early Wednesday, and four other schools were locked down.

Ball has been expelled, according to Carol Fenstermacher, community relations director at Evergreen Public Schools.

Ball is 15. A Vancouver police news release on Wednesday had identified him as being 16.

Teacher Norman Sanford found the weapon early Wednesday inside a black nylon case under a table in his classroom and reported it to authorities around 8:20 a.m. Police identified the weapon as a single-shot Rossi .410 gauge, .22 caliber rifle/shotgun. Police said the case contained the rifle and ammunition. The barrel was detached from the weapon, which needs to be assembled to fire.

No one was threatened with the weapon, police said.

Ball indicated to detectives that he planned to sell the weapon to another student in exchange for $40 and an iPod Touch, according to police.

Ball appeared in court next to his parents, Angela and Shawn Ball. He looked small and childlike standing to the right of his towering father. He wore a tan and blue Juvenile Detention Center jumpsuit, and his light brown hair was clipped in a buzz cut.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com.