Mock rifle at high school leads to arrest

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Photo courtesy of the Groveport Police
The Orbeez brand toy gun that fires hard gel water pellets that Groveport Police impounded after a student brought it to Groveport Madison High School.

Groveport Police responded on May 22 after social media reports of a suspicious gun at Groveport Madison High School

“I received a message from a Groveport Madison High School vice principal containing a social media screenshot of a known male student holding a firearm in one of the school’s restrooms,” said Groveport Police Lt. Josh Short.

He said the photo had been sent to another staff member, from a student, who then sent it to the principal. Groveport Police Detective Josh Gilbert obtained the social media account information and was able to determine that it was associated with the same student in the picture.

“Officers then met with the student and his mother and impounded the gun, which is an Orbeez brand toy gun that fires hard gel water pellets,” said Short. “The student did admit to taking the picture with the gun in the school sometime in April.”

Short said the student will be charged with illegal conveyance of an object indistinguishable from a firearm into a school safety zone, which is a first degree misdemeanor.

“Prompt action by the Groveport Madison High School staff and their great communication and teamwork with the Groveport Police allowed us to get this issue figured out and resolved within hours,” said Short. “Too many people, including students, think that they can stay anonymous on social media. Any time there is a legitimate threat or safety concern on a post, the social media companies will work with law enforcement to obtain user information and help us discover who posted the content.”

Short said this is not the first incident Groveport Police have had with an Orbeez or other toy guns at schools this year.

“The Orbeez fad is very hot right now and a lot of students feel the urge to bring them to school to play against other students or as pranks,” said Short. “We cannot stress enough how foolish it is for a student to bring any type of firearm onto school property. This toy gun is nearly indistinguishable from a real weapon. Any incident involving a student with a firearm on school property, toy or real, is most likely going to end negatively.”

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