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Update: Hazelwood East Custodian Arrested, Brings Guns and Drugs Onto School Campus

The custodian was taken away in handcuffs on Thursday at about 3 p.m.

Update: Jan 18. 12:30 pm

A custodian at Hazelwood East High School was arrested Thursday after police found several guns in his vehicle.

The incident happened at about 3 p.m., after the St. Louis County Police officer assigned to the school, at 11300 Dunn Road, received an anonymous tip from someone saying he or she saw the custodian with a gun on the campus parking lot.

The officer contacted the Hazelwood School District custodian and didn't find a weapon on him, according to police. After getting consent to search his vehicle, the officer found several guns and drug paraphernalia.

The officer seized the items and arrested the custodian, according to police. It has not been stated if the custodian has a concealed carry gun permit.

St. Louis County Police Officer Randy Vaughn told Hazelwood Patch Friday morning the custodian was arrested for "numerous things."

"One being marijuana, and one being drug paraphernalia," Vaughn said.

Vaughn said the department is in the process of applying for warrants, which would lead to charges depending on the decision of the prosecuting attorney and judge assigned to the case.

Police said the custodian's intent is unknown.

Hazelwood East High School principal Jacqueline Kelly sent out an email blast to parents telling them what happened.

"One of our custodians was arrested by St. Louis County Police today after receiving a tip indicating there were weapons in his car on school property," she said in the email. "The District has placed the custodian on administrative leave, pending an investigation.

"It is against the law to have weapons on school property, and this is unacceptable."

But Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 571 on Weapons Offenses, Section 571.107 updated August 2012 does allow guns on school campuses inside of vehicles.

571.107. 1. A concealed carry endorsement issued pursuant to sections 571.101 to 571.121 or a concealed carry endorsement or permit issued by another state or political subdivision of another state shall authorize the person in whose name the permit or endorsement is issued to carry concealed firearms on or about his or her person or vehicle throughout the state. No driver's license or nondriver's license containing a concealed carry endorsement issued pursuant to sections 571.101 to 571.121 or a concealed carry endorsement or permit issued by another state or political subdivision of another state shall authorize any person to carry concealed firearms into: (10) Any higher education institution or elementary or secondary school facility without the consent of the governing body of the higher education institution or a school official or the district school board. Possession of a firearm in a vehicle on the premises of any higher education institution or elementary or secondary school facility shall not be a criminal offense so long as the firearm is not removed from the vehicle or brandished while the vehicle is on the premises.

Vaughn agreed.

"There is a stipulation as long as you keep guns locked in your car, it's fine," he said. "So the question remains did the person that came forward see the person with the gun?"

The original tip was that a gun was spotted.

Vaughn said incident is still being investigated so there are still questions that can't be answered at the moment.

Still, Kelly said in her email to parents, the safety of the students and staff remain a priority.

"We will cooperate with St. Louis County Police on the investigation," she said.

This comes as the district recently made changes to increase school safety. Nationwide the question of whether school staff should have the right to carry a weapon in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting is causing lots of discussion. The NRA has also been trying to stand its ground as it pertains to added gun control methods especially as it pertains to assault rifles and guns with clips that contain more than six bullets.

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Rita January 18, 2013 at 11:18 PM
As a past student of HSD and current parent/grandparent of HSD I don't believe that anyone with or without permit to carry needs to have weapons on school grounds. While this custodian has made news by bringing a gun or guns (even if in his/her vehichle). Let's not forget that this person was also in possesion of marijuana & paraphenalia which is also something that should not be on our school grounds. Isn't there enough problems with our kids getting drugs from friends etc., do we really have to make drugs available to our students possibly from school staff too. I understand that this person may not have been selling to our students but, people who do drugs & have them available to them whenever they want are most likely to be using while on the job. As a parent/grandparent I sure would not want this person around my children or grandchildren in the HSD. A very concerned parent & grandparent.

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