Boy caught with pellet pistol on bus

Friday, October 12, 2007

By Bridget Dicosmo

Southeast Missourian

A 10-year old Cape Girardeau public school student who allegedly fired a pellet gun on the school bus was cited and referred to juvenile court for unlawful use of a weapon.

A school resource officer was called to Cape Girardeau Middle School around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday after receiving a report of the juvenile having discharged a pellet pistol on the bus.

No one was injured in the incident, but because the pistol was actually fired in public constitutes a city ordinance violation, said police spokesman Sgt. Barry Hovis.

The incident may be treated differently depending on the kind of pellet gun the boy had in his possession, Hovis said.

Some pellet guns on the market can do serious damage, but an air-type pistol that only fires plastic capsules, though it may be against school rules, probably would not be considered a "weapon readily capable of lethal use," which is required by the governing state law for a weapons offense.

Though the case has not yet made it to juvenile court, Cape Girardeau County juvenile officer Randy Rhodes said cases of this type are handled quickly and informally.

Attorneys would examine the situation to determine whether there was an actual threat posed by the weapon offense, and judges usually reach a decision within 24 hours, Rhodes said.

335-6611, extension 245

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