Police Chief Ken DeSimone assured concerned City Council members that a Sandy Springs detective - a gang specialist - is available to assist Fulton County Schools police in the investigation of a student who brought a loaded 9 mm gun to Ridgeview Charter School, last week.
“We have a great relationship with the Fulton County Schools police,” DeSimone said. “It is a schools case. They are a fully sworn police agency also. They would follow nearly the same protocol as we would. They may be better placed than we would because they are within the school and know the school regulations and what they can bring to bear [against the student.] The City of Sandy Springs can’t suspend the student from school or assign him to another school."
An assistant principal removed the gun from the student after he showed it to other students. DeSimone said the youth claimed affiliation with the gang, Vatos Locos, but the gang specialist advised him that the student may have been trying to be something that he’s not because of his age.
DeSimone said the student lives in Sandy Springs. He was arrested and is in the Fulton County judicial system. DeSimone said he has seen no increased gang activity in Sandy Springs. The student was expelled, DeSimone said.
A Channel 2 News story by Mike Petchenik said the police report indicated the student intended to shoot someone. In the story, his mother said her son was afraid for his safety at school and purchased the gun on Buford Highway.
Councilman Tibby DeJulio asked DeSimone for his take on whether Ridgeview should have gone into lockdown when the handgun was discovered. Several residents have raised the question in emails, the Councilman said.
“Do you want my professional opinion? There was no need because the situation was handled,” DeSimone said. “They had the student. They had the gun. I don’t see any need to go to a full lockdown in that situation. They had already contained it.”