Muncie Police Department (MPD) officers arrested a student with a loaded handgun Wednesday afternoon outside Muncie Central High School (MCHS).
Chase Winkle, public information officer (PIO) with MPD, in a press conference later that evening, said a 15-year-old student with MCHS was arrested at 2:48 p.m. near the east entrance of the high school on Myrtle and Walnut Streets.
At 2:44 p.m. a call was made to MPD stating there was a subject with a gun along with descriptions. Three minutes after, an MPD officer working the street along with a school resource officer (SRO) from MCHS located the male matching the description.
Winkle said the subject was carrying a small-caliber loaded handgun. Following a brief resistance from the subject and after the gun was located, he was taken into custody at 2:48 p.m. and transported to criminal investigations at 2:58 p.m.
SROs were informed by a third party about the student, Winkle said. He added SROs dealt with the student earlier in the day, when he was at school, for something minor.
“If it would’ve been something to a higher scale then we would probably have this handled earlier,” Winkle said.
He said one of the points MPD would like to make with SROs is “to get to know the students, to get comfortable with the students, so that something like this could be told to them.”
Winkle said there will be some preliminary charges and the suspect will be held at the Youth Detention Center.
“This is a situation that I’m sure the investigation will give us some light, but we may never know exactly what the intentions were,” Winkle said. “I think that as a father, as a part of the community, this is a prime example of if you see something, you know, tell somebody.”
Winkle said he was told the school was not on lockdown given that the incident unfolded “literally in minutes.
He said the timeline of events showed how informing the SROs led to a quick response adding “those quick responses save lives, without a doubt.”
Considering the suspect is a juvenile, MPD had to follow certain steps and go through the right processes like having guardians available before questioning the suspect.
“At this point of time, there’s still an interview which is a crucial part of it to try to get a little light into what was going to happen, if anything, and then it’ll ultimately be up to what we figure out and what the prosecutors decide,” Winkle said.
He said even if it had not been a student, but a gun completely unrelated to the school, MPD would have responded similarly to how they did, given the area and students coming out to buses.
“I think that a lot of things went really well to make this end as good as it could’ve,” Winkle said. “I don’t have anything that I could release to you to say that there was going to be a school shooting today, but I think the fact that we know for sure it was a student and that he had a handgun, that is not a good sign. I think that a dangerous situation was handled very quickly and as good as it could’ve.”
Winkle said what MPD really wanted to hone in on was that everybody is fine and that people could go to school tomorrow and understand that the situation is handled.
“I think people should have conversations with their kids about stuff like this — that this is not something where you keep it a secret because you don’t want to tell on your friend or you don’t want to be that person,” Winkle said. “That’s not something you want to live with, and I think as parents we need to have those conversations with our kids to make sure that they know that that tip alone was what got us to get this guy in custody. Had we not been told by that person, we would have had no idea.”
He said having extra patrol at the school would fall on the school district, but added that around 5-6 SROs from MPD and surrounding law enforcement agencies are present at MCHS on any given day.
This story will be updated.