Charges expected in gun incident

2013-01-30T00:00:00Z Charges expected in gun incidentBy Francis Davis of The Montana Standard Montana Standard
January 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The 14-year-old student who brought two guns in his backpack onto school property at Harrison Public School will face juvenile charges of criminal endangerment, Madison County Attorney Chris Christensen said Tuesday. Such a charge would be considered a felony if the youth were an adult.

Madison County sheriff’s deputies arrested the youth after the two guns, a loaded .357 Magnum revolver and an unloaded .22-caliber pistol, were found in his backpack on school property last Friday.

The youth had a detention hearing on Monday in Virginia City in front of Judge Loren Tucker. The court entered a plea of “not true” on behalf of the boy. In juvenile court, true or not true replaces guilty or not guilty. If convicted, the youth could remain in juvenile detention until he reaches 18.

The incident began Friday when a student told Harrison School Superintendent Fred Hofman that another student had a gun in his backpack. That student was taken to the superintendent’s office and his backpack was secured.

The youth is being held at Reintegrating Youthful Offender (RYO) Correctional Facility in Galen until Feb. 25 when a status hearing will be held. RYO is a secured juvenile detention facility where the youth will receive counseling and go to school. Christensen said he was not aware of any previous charges or incidents in the youth’s past. Whitehall attorney Helen McCarthy represented the youth in court on Monday.

Harrison, a small rural school, is located near Highway 287, about 25 miles east of Whitehall and about 50 miles southeast of Butte.

Reporter Francis Davis can be reached at francis.davis @mtstandard.com.

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