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Student arrested after gun found in backpack at Opa-locka school

Police and officials at Beacon College Prep in Opa-locka say the student was taken into custody Friday after a gun was found inside of his backpack following an anonymous tip.
Police and officials at Beacon College Prep in Opa-locka say the student was taken into custody Friday after a gun was found inside of his backpack following an anonymous tip.

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. – A student at Beacon College Prep in Opa-locka was taken into custody Friday after a gun was found inside of his backpack, authorities said.

According to Opa-locka police, officers secured the gun and no one was injured.

The gun was not loaded, the city’s police chief said.

The school’s co-founder and principal Patrick Evans said he learned about the gun from an anonymous tip and that the student told him that he did not intend to use the gun at school.

Evans said the student told him he brought the weapon in for self-protection for when he gets home. He said the student had a “terrible lapse in judgment” and has been expelled.

“Beacon College Prep is reviewing our safety procedures to ensure that situations like this never happen again,” Evans said in a statement. “At the same time, we applaud the heroism of the student who tipped off school officials. We are grateful for our supportive parents and we want to ensure them that our school continues to be a safe place for students to learn.”

Danecka Smith told Local 10 her son attends the school at 13400 NW 28th Ave. and that he and the boy arrested have had “issues.”

“Even if the situation really didn’t have anything to do with him directly today, it’s still that individual that he had issues with,” she said. “And I feel as though parents who have kids here should be aware.”

Evans told Local 10 News that in his eight years, something like this has never happened and he tries to provide a safe space for the elementary and middle school students who attend Beacon College Prep.

Last week, a student at Miramar High School was arrested after bringing a loaded gun on campus.


About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.