Teen found with gun at school appears in court

By Kumasi Aaron, Reporter, weekend anchor, kaaron@wjxt.com
Published On: Mar 06 2014 04:07:34 PM EST
Updated On: Mar 06 2014 07:46:11 PM EST

According to the arrest report, 16-year-old Roderick Richards said he brought a loaded gun to school yesterday because he was frightened. We're told school employees found it during a random search.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A 16-year-old Ed White High School student arrested Wednesday morning on a felony charge of bringing a loaded gun to school made his first appearance in court Thursday.

A judge ordered Roderick Richards Jr. be kept in secure detention, a provision of the law. Richards father stood beside him in court.

"It requires to allow to keep the juveniles in secure detention," Judge Henry Davis said. "So in addition to the fact that your son had a loaded gun at school, I'm going to order that he remain in secure detention and not be released."

The school's assistant principal on Wednesday asked two officers to help with a random search of Richards' classroom.

Police said when they searched the students, they found an Eagle Arms .38 special six shot in Richards' right sock, partly tucked into his ankle boot. Police said the gun was fully loaded.

Richards (pictured in Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo) told police he has problems outside school and brought the gun because he was going to walk to his friend's house after school, according to a police report.

"I didn't want to get caught with one of the people I have problems with," he said, according to the report.

Richards' next court date is set for March 17.

His father did not want to comment after the hearing.

The school district issued the following statement Thursday:

"The safety of our students continues to be a top priority for Duval County Public Schools. As part of our district's routine emergency operations and procedures plan, we conduct random searches of students and their materials on our campuses. During a random search conducted at Ed White High School, we discovered a student in possession of a weapon. Immediately upon discovery, we alerted school police and JSO who removed the weapon and student from school grounds, while assessing the safety of our campus. Our Student Code of Conduct identifies this behavior as a major violation with disciplinary action that could include a recommendation for expulsion.

"We recognize that this outcome is a direct result of our safety efforts along with the responsiveness and cooperation of our students, administrators and security teams. We will continue to enact emergency operations procedures such as this to contribute to the safety of our students and campuses."

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