St. Louis school doesn’t tell parents about teen with gun on campus

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A teen is accused of having a loaded handgun with an extended magazine on the grounds of Roosevelt High School in South St. Louis. Parents were furious they still hadn’t been notified more than 24 hours after Ashley’s arrest. Emmanuel Ashley, 18, was arrested near an Auto Zone store just across the street from the campus, police said. He is charged with unlawful use of a weapon on school premises.

Police gave this account in a court document:

St. Louis Police officers happened to be at the school Thursday, making a presentation to students about gangs. Just after the presentation, a school administrator told the officers that Ashley, who was not a student but with whom the school had previously had problems, was on school property outside the building. Ashley was arrested near the Auto Zone across the street just after leaving the campus. An officer saw him pull a semi-automatic pistol from his waistband, which had an extended magazine with 13 live rounds, and one in the chamber.

A St. Louis Public Schools spokeswoman confirmed Ashley was in the area where students load onto buses. When asked why parents were not notified, the school district released the following statement:

“The individual you referenced came to the area where the buses load. He was told he could not be on school property and left without issue. At no time was he inside the school, nor did he brandish a weapon on school property. Juvenile officers were there for an assembly, so our safety team connected with them and explained the situation. It is important to remember that our jurisdiction does not extend beyond our school campuses. We are very appreciative of our relationship with SLMPD and our partnership to keep students safe.

With respect to your specific question as to why families were not informed of the individual’s presence, again, at no time was a weapon brandished on property. Moreover, it is my understanding that although SLMP confiscated a gun from this individual off-site from Roosevelt, at no time was any crime committed with said gun. To be clear, there was no “gunman” by its definition – the arrest apparently occurred simply because it is unlawful to possess a weapon in a school zone. As such, the district did not believe there was any issue to report to families.”

Parents disagreed, pointing out that Ashley is charged with a gun crime. They say that someone with a loaded gun at a school is, by definition, a gunman, and a threat parents should know about. Especially with a school administrator identifying him as someone with past “problems” at the school.

District officials have not told Fox 2 or parents what those problems were.

“This is unacceptable, especially with us not knowing anything about it. Them not calling anyone to tell anybody anything about what’s going on. I don’t understand that. No email, no anything, no call, no nothing,” said parent, Robin Chandler.

“My heart’s beating real fast because I never knew anything (about) this,” said parent, Stephanie Myles. “He was up here. He could have been targeting anybody … he could have been trying to shoot.”

Ashley faces up to four years in prison if convicted. His bond is set at $30,000, cash-only.

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