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'Gun was definitely there,' students say

February 1, 2013
The two students who allegedly witnessed a firearm on the Bonners Ferry High School campus Thursday afternoon and reported it, prompting a lockdown, are insistent that there was, indeed, a pistol on campus, and both are concerned that the owner of the weapon, who both said they've heard boasting of having it "24/7," will continue bringing it to the  school campus in spite of school policy.

Their report prompted a lockdown of the high school Thursday afternoon.

"The gun wasn't found, but it was definitely there," one of the students said. "This was not an exaggeration, it was not imagination. It was freaky and it was real."

Because of the nature of the incident and because the investigation is still underway by the Bonners Ferry Police Department, no names are being used. All involved were identified as students, all male, at Bonners Ferry High School.

According to one of the students, he and a friend were walking in the upper parking lot of the school during lunch when they heard a vehicle revving and racing around the lot and then come toward them.

Both witnesses said they know the two students in the pickup, a black and silver Toyota, and one said he'd been having on-going problems with the passenger, the student who allegedly brandished the pistol after a brief exchange of one-fingered hand signs.

"I've been having problems with the kid who waved the gun for awhile," one of the witnesses said. "He's always starting rumors and trying to get me to fight. We flipped each other off while they were driving towards us, and then he reached under the seat and pulled the pistol and waved it at as."

Both boys described the weapon as a silver Smith & Wesson .22 with a black grip, and both said that it belonged to the driver of the pickup, not the boy who allegedly brandished it.

Not wanting a confrontation, both witness took off for school. The pickup, both said, sped away.

On the way to the high school, one of the boys' cellphones rang; it was his mother, late bringing his lunch because she had to stop at the doctors office, telling him she was out front.

He met her there, he said, told her what had happened, and she accompanied them inside, where they said they immediately reported the incident to the principal, Kirk Hoff.

"It had to be between 12:40 or 12:50 (p.m.)," one said, "because the bell rang."

Police and emergency personnel were summoned to the school shortly before 2 p.m. One of the students estimated that from the time they made the report until the school lockdown was implemented, at least half an hour had passed.

Both boys said they were questioned several times, both by school administrators and by police, and both said the two in the pickup, the driver with his father, had been questioned extensively as well.

"They had the kid who was driving in handcuffs and his dad was there," one said. "When the kid waving the gun was leaving, he had a big smirk on his face."

Despite a thorough search of the vehicle, the students' lockers, packs and persons, no gun turned up, which surprised neither of the witnesses.

"I heard the same story from six different kids that he (the driver) called his dad and had him come get it," one said. Both said there had been plenty of time, and both said that's what they believe happened.

On Friday morning, one of the witnesses and his mother went to the police department, where they said they were promised a full investigation. A call to the police department was not returned in time for publication, but this article may be updated should the call be returned later.

"The superintendent spoke wrong when he said this was exaggerated (see High school locked down; gun reported)," one witness said. "I told the principal the truth, I told the police the truth and I'm telling you the truth. I did not exaggerate."
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