Staff members at Pasco High School in the Tampa Bay area discovered an AR-15 rifle and ammunition in the bed of a student’s truck parked on campus Friday.
Dade City police arrested Dillon Nathanial Xynides, an 18-year-old senior, and charged him with possession of a weapon on school property, a third degree felony.
“By all accounts, Xynides is said to be a very good young man with no prior disciplinary actions noted by school administration,” Dade City police said in a statement.
Police said Xynides posted a video of the firearm on Snapchat Thursday evening.
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“But there were no expressed threats made and the school was never placed in a lockdown. He has been cooperative with investigators,” police said, noting they have also met with his mother, who is cooperating with the investigation.
According to WFTS ABC Action News, the school official spotted shell casings in the bed of Xynides’ truck in the lot so he looked inside the cab of the truck and saw a suspicious object.
Dade City police responded to the call and opened the object, which was a gun case that contained the Del-Ton AR-15 rifle and ammunition.
James Walters, acting Dade City police chief, said the department has a longstanding policy of zero tolerance of weapons on school property.
“We take the matters of school safety very seriously and feel a great obligation to establish and maintain a safe learning environment for all students and staff in our schools,” Walters said in the police statement. “We will not take any less chance in protecting the students in our schools than we would if they were our own children.”
Awareness of school security has been even more acute than usual after Nikolas Cruz, a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, killed 17 people at the Parkland school with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle on Valentine’s Day.
In Miami Gardens, Miami-Dade Schools police evacuated Brentwood Elementary Friday after school officials spotted a suspicious package on the ground by a fence on one of the school’s fields.