Man arrested after child brings handgun to a Sumter elementary school

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Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 5:00 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2021 at 10:02 AM EST
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SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - Deputies arrested a man during an investigation regarding a 9-year-old bringing a firearm to Shaw Heights Elementary School Thursday morning.

Johnathan Cole, 31, of Dalzell, claimed possession of the firearm. The firearm was found to be stolen according to the results of a records check. Cole was subsequently arrested and is charged with possession of a stolen firearm.

Deputies say a teacher alerted them after another student informed her that the child had a firearm.

The teacher found the handgun in the 9-year-old’s bookbag. The school’s administration contacted the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

No one was threatened or harmed during this incident.

The School District has notified parents and guardians who have children attending that school.

Cole was taken to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center where he awaits a first appearance hearing.

“I am upset that a child this young would have access to a handgun and would bring it to school,” Sheriff Dennis said. “Those who own firearms cannot be irresponsible when children are present. We encourage parents, especially those who have firearms at home, to teach their children gun safety. Protecting our local schools is a top priority for our agency and we ask that parents assist us in that effort by checking students’ bags.”

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