Four Whitefish Bay Middle School students are now facing juvenile charges and school disciplinary measures for pulling unlocked bb guns and pellet guns on their teammates before basketball practice last week.
Since the incident was first reported two weeks ago, the subject of guns in schools, school safety and disciplinary repercussions have elevated in the Patch comments section—a dialogue similar to the gun culture discussions occurring in Congress and in the media since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
The four students involved—a 13-year-old boy and three 12-year-old boys—have not been in school since Jan. 17. The School Board is meeting in closed session Monday to hold expulsion hearings, although district officials have not said whether the expulsion hearing is related to the bb gun incident.
All three boys are ordered into Milwaukee County Childrens Court on Feb. 18 for misdemeanor charges of possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds. The 13-year-old boy also faces a felony juvenile count of possession of a controlled substance.
Students threatened with BB guns
According to a Whitefish Bay police report:
A 13-year-old Whitefish Bay student arrived at the high school for Junior Blue Dukes basketball practice on Jan. 16, when one of his teammates said he wanted to show him something in the stairwell leading to the Field House tunnel area. After lacing up his basketball shoes, the boy followed three other boys to the tunnel entrance, where his teammate—a 12-year-old Milwaukee boy—was waiting with a gun pointed at him.
Thinking it was a real gun, the boy turned around and ran back upstairs. One of the boys later told him it was just a "spring gun" and that it was not real. Witnesses told police that the bb gun did not have an orange tip or any other marking distinguishing it from a real firearm. The incident was caught on surveillance video at the high school.
The 12-year-old Milwaukee boy and the 13-year-old Whitefish Bay boy also showed the guns to two other boys before basketball practice that night.
One of the basketball players, who saw the guns at three different occassions, said the two boys followed him into the boys bathroom and said "Give me your gummy bears or I will pull the heat."
On another occassion involving the same three boys, the 13-year-old boy pulled the trigger of the gun, causing the other boy to run out of the bathroom fearing for his safety.
The 13-year-old Whitefish Bay boy brandishing the gun at the practice had a similar stunt pulled on him the day before by a different student, a 12-year-old boy from Milwaukee. On that afternoon, at about 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 15, the two boys were leaving a basketball game at the middle school when the Milwaukee boy pointed a gun at the Whitefish Bay boy's chest and pulled the trigger. When the boy with the gun told the other boy it was not real, they continued walking to the high school.
The 12-year-old Milwaukee boy gave the two guns to the 13-year-old Whitefish Bay boy, who put both of them in his backpack. The boy took the guns to the middle school the next day but never pulled the guns out during school. After school, he took his backpack with him to a basketball game in Shorewood from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. He and his friends then went to the high school to wait for the Jr. Blue Dukes practice, where the incident later occurred.
The next day at school, the 12-year-old Milwaukee boy took one of the guns out of the other boy's backpack and gave it to his friend, a 12-year-old Whitefish Bay boy, who was later forced to turn over the gun to the Whitefish Bay Police Department. Still possessing the other gun, the 13-year-old Whitefish Bay boy took the gun with him to his basketball team's game in Bayside.
When police searched for the gun at the 13-year-old boy's Whitefish Bay home, they found a large kitchen knife, a punctured can of whip cream, and an empty beer bottle in the bedroom. Inside his backpack, police found an empty Madagascar video game box that was used to conceal the guns, as well as a bottle of Oxycodone belonging to his deceased mother.
When interviewed at his house, the boy initially told police he didn't know the location of the gun, but eventually took the gun out of the waistband of his sweatpants.
The 12-year-old Milwaukee boy, from whom he got the guns, later told police he got the guns about two weeks ago from a friend at Messmer High School, who found them in his basement. He told police he brought the guns to school because eighth grade boys were messing with him and his friends.