« What he said | Main | Howard Kurtz Misses Point in Novak Column »

Is Your Elementary School A Shooting Gallery?


Mine is...

Incredibly I'm just learning about a the break-in shown above at my children's school over a month after if happened.

Surveillance video released by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office on Monday shows five masked subjects entering the Potowmack Elementary School in Sterling, Virginia armed with what appear to be assault rifles.

Sheriff's Deputies responded to a call from the school district's operation center, where the invasion was noticed on surveillance cameras, arriving at the school around 10:27 PM on June 2, 2006.

The five teens, all of whom are 14-year-old boys, were located and fortunately no one was injured. A spokesman for Loudoun County Public Schools commended the "admirable restraint" shown by the responding officers that led to the arrest of the five teenage suspects without incident.

The juveniles, whose names are not being released due to their age, were turned over to the custody of their parents. Petitions have been obtained for each teen for unlawful entry, trespassing and weapons violations.

As it turns out the teenagers were carrying Airsoft BB guns, guns designed to look like actual weapons. The circumstances that led the teenagers into the elementary school are still a bit mysterious. The Sheriff's Office says that the teens had been playing on the grounds of the school when it started to rain and they found an unlocked door into the school. However that version of events does not match other accounts, that indicate the the teens staked out the school and waited for the janitor to leave before they were able to enter the school by keeping a door unlocked with a piece of cardboard.

The video of the incident was not released, so it's hard to tell whether the break-in and gunplay was some sort of Columbine-style fantasy game or a live-action, BB gun fueled, Doom game using the school and classrooms as a playing grid. Either way it's disturbing to see the images above and know that my children roamed those same halls just hours earlier; and that the other parents and students at the school are just finding out about this now.

A spokesman for Loudoun County Public Schools confirms that all five boys were not students at the elementary school, but are students at county middle schools. Disciplinary action against all five boys is in progress.

The one undeniable fact in this case is that the five teenage suspects, given the authentic look of the weapons they were carrying, are lucky to be alive. Whatever the ultimate punishment handed down by the juvenile justice system and the school district, what the boys (and their parents) will hopefully never forget is that they could easily have been killed (justifiably) by the responding officers.

They were lucky; in other cases students with Airsoft guns were not.

Comments (17)

Good thing the door was ope... (Below threshold)

Good thing the door was open and they found it right away. That way they didn't even get wet or get get the floors wet or muddy.

Methinks their story is all wet.

VERY Lucky. I must... (Below threshold)

VERY Lucky.

I must admit had I been the cop the story would have ended differently. Much differently.

Sorry guys, I can't get too... (Below threshold)

Sorry guys, I can't get too worked up about this... The kids are idiots, but in terms of how much trouble some kids can get into, using the hallways for a version of paintball that doesn't even leave any marks, just some annoying plastic BBs lying around (I assume they weren't using the airsoft paintballs) doesn't rate all that high. Oh, and the scary masks? Those things can sting your face and hurt your eyes, other than that, they just sting.

The kids should get in trouble. But not much more trouble than had they been playing tag or sardines in the school after sneaking in.

Now, if they were actually shooting up the school, okay, then that's something to get worked up over.

In your one picture above y... (Below threshold)

In your one picture above you can see the orange-painted tip that Airsoft puts on its replica firearms. If the officers had trained with Airsoft, then they might have recognized them.

Thanks for some common sens... (Below threshold)

Thanks for some common sense aughtsix. My friends and I used to do the same thing, though we did it in the woods. I do admit, though, that we did find ourselve (sans guns and masks) in the school after hours one night totally unplanned. Pretty boring overall, though a couple of the less mature in the group found it necessary to throw around paper towels and napkins from the girls bathroom.

I'm with Sherard and AughtS... (Below threshold)

I'm with Sherard and AughtSix - Airsoft are far more harmless than the BB guns we'd plink each other with out in the woods, though my Daisy spring action rifle looked nothing like an M16.

I'd save my hysterics until I learn that this was a precursor to something more malignant.

Thanks for the link, Kevin.... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the link, Kevin. My step-son (21 but goin on 14) carries one around as well. His mom encourages this stuff and I hope this will provide some leverage for me.

What's to prevent a punk fr... (Below threshold)

What's to prevent a punk from painting orange on his peice to make it look like a "fake gun". That momentary hesitation by an officer might be all that is needed to take him down.

Police MUST assume that all arms are real.

Before retiring, I can reca... (Below threshold)

Before retiring, I can recall two occasions when young "adults" where found playing with AirSoft rifles late at night/early morning. The weapons weren't 'real enough', so the dumb asses spray painted the muzzles black. I can hardly wait until some crook paints the muzzle of a real .45 orange.

So any 14-year-old can just... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

So any 14-year-old can just buy these things over the counter? Or do you need an adult to do it for you?

'Cause I don't like to leave decisions involving realistic-looking sorta-guns up to middle schoolers. Does the NRA support children's rights to bear fake arms? People have been shot for pulling a switch blade-style comb on cops before.

Looks like the kids used th... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

Looks like the kids used the school as a play zone for their AirSoft game. Notice the safety head gear they are wearing. It's pretty much like a paintball helmut.

Stupid place to choose, but at least it was after hours when no one was there. I think folks are getting up in arms for nothing here.

Right around the corner fro... (Below threshold)

Right around the corner from my house.

Didn't know you lived in Sterling, Kevin...

Beers at Famous Dave's?

This could have been a case... (Below threshold)

This could have been a case for 5 "Darwin Awards". Unless one of them good ol' Virginny boys (Cue banjo...) already knocked-up his sister.

I noticed these boys still ... (Below threshold)

I noticed these boys still have the orange tip on their guns, most people remove this with acetone because otherwise, it just doesnt look real enough.

these guns are supposed to be treated like regular bb guns with an age requirement of 18 to purchase, they basically start at about $300. They typically shoot 6mm plastic bb's at a rate of 300 feet per second, some faster and can be modified to shoot up to 500 feet per second. these plastic bb's can leave a nice welt or bruise.

check out classicarmy.com to see what these kids got.

while I think it is stupid what these kids did, I think I would have a hard time passing up the opportunity if I were a kid their age.

If I were their principal, I would give them a 5 day suspension, 5 days of saturday detention, and the school officer (if they have them in your town) give them a stern talking to about the dangers of suicide by cop.

Attack of the Beslam bungle... (Below threshold)

Attack of the Beslam bunglers.. thank God they just pretend? like the Libs.........

WOW.I am actually ... (Below threshold)


I am actually a friend of three of the kids that did this. I've known them and their families since I was in 3rd grade. (senior in high school now) They are very stupid, yes, but they are kids come on. What really grinds my gears here is that the author of this article is so immature about this. I'm glad your kid goes to the school chief, but i had an incident their were I was skateboarding in front of the school when a latino gang, MS13, came up and pulled a gun on me. It was a SUNDAY afternoon in the middle of the summer, at Potowmack elementary. So you can't say that because of these idiots your kids are unsafe. These idiots brought a toy into the school, wore paintball masks because you can lose your eye if you get hit, and the police showed "great restraint" because they dropped the freakin guns. They werent planning a columbine at a ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. They did not stake out the school and wait for the janitor. The janitor has cardboard there because they are human and when they go for that noon smoke they forget their keys.

Next, i quote you : "they could easily have been killed (justifiably)"
where the hell do you comeoff saying that 5 FOURTEEN year old boys can be justifiably shot down because they lowered their TOYS and listened to the police. Their would have been no justice what so ever if the police had shot the children. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? the freakin media would have torn the lcpd a new one.

And Finally, i like how you have to copy and paste from another article because you cannot write a comprehensable thread to save your life.

with my dearest love,
anonymous, friend of the said 'criminals', person of the community, and fighter of stupid threads.

I have read all the comment... (Below threshold)

I have read all the comments and I thank those of you that have common sense and understanding of what this incident is all about. The loudoun county sheriffs dept. is using this indident in order to push an agenda and they could care less about the boys involved. The boys were playing a game...everyone agrees that it was stupid to enter the school...everyone agrees that the boys should be punished...a short suspension?
Well thats not the punishment for the boys...they have all been EXPELLED from attending ANY loudoun county school. They are not gang members....they do not sell or do drugs....yet they have received the same punishment that a kid would receive for walking into a school while school was in session and shooting kids with the airsoft gun! I am looking for support in order to go before the school board and help these boys....if are over 18 and you would like to help, let me know.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy