Students caught with air guns

When Ben Fulton saw the city police surround his next door neighbor’s house on Troupe Street, he didn’t know what to think.

Then an officer came to his front lawn and told him to go inside his house and lock the door.

The police were responding to a 911 caller who told them two white males were outside with guns yesterday. They later arrested two students for inducing panic about 4 p.m.

“We responded, not knowing what we had on our hands,” Sergeant Tony Hetrick said.

What they found were two students, who had been playing with air guns in the front yard of their house on the east corner of Wooster Street and Troupe Street. Police could not release the names of the two students by press time.

After searching the house across the street and finding no guns, the officers circled around the block.

And as they rounded the corner, Hetrick spotted one of the people described in the 911 call. The police set a perimeter around the house, and Hetrick stopped and confronted one of the students. Unaware of what weapon the student had at the time, Hetrick asked the student if he had a gun.

When the student reached around behind his waist to get the air soft gun, Hetrick had to pull his own gun.

“Those air soft guns look like real guns,” he said. “A lot like real guns.”

The second student arrived minutes later with his air soft. Both of the students were put into the back of police cruisers and their guns were confiscated.

Neighbors were standing on the sidewalks and wondering what had happened. The campus police also came to the scene.

But one of the student’s roommates, Tyler Sharpe, said there wasn’t any harmful intent.

“They’ve played with those inside the house before,” he said.

The students were taken to the Wood County Justice Center, and will appear in court this morning to make their plea. Inducing panic, in the way the two are accused, is considered a first degree misdemeanor.

The maximum penalty the students face if their case goes to court is six months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

City police Sergeant Alan Carsey stressed the importance of this particular situation because it concerned the safety of the whole community. When the police get a 911 call involving guns, they have to take it seriously.

“Anytime firearms are involved, it’s not a pretty situation,” he said.