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Sheriff cites ‘conflict of interest’ in gun at Caroline school investigation

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CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. --  Caroline County Sheriff Tony Lippa says in an email to WTVR CBS 6 that he has turned over the investigation of an incident at Caroline Middle School to Virginia State Police due to a conflict of interest.

A Caroline County Sheriff's Office School Resource Officer removed a female student from the school Thursday afternoon after finding a loaded semi-automatic handgun, brass knuckles and a pair of scissors from her backpack.

The email states that after learning the student's identity, Lippa requested the VSP handle the case and that all questions from this point forward should be directed to their office.  WTVR CBS 6 is confirming the circumstances behind the decision.

Friday was a teacher work day at the middle school so there was not much of an increased law enforcement presence at the school.

There is a sign outside of the school that violators will face state and federal prosecution for bringing a firearm onto the school zone.

carolinemiddle

Caroline Middle School

Meantime, the Caroline County Schools "Code of Conduct" clearly states that bringing a firearm on campus could result in a suspension of up to 44 days or expulsion.

Caroline County resident Robin Maddison hopes that the punishment is severe for both the child and the adult from whom she acquired the gun, regardless of whether that adult knew she'd taken it.

"Somebody could have been killed," Maddison said.  "A child with a gun is a felony; so therefore they should be treated as such."

Caroline County school administrators have not addressed the incident publicly, but students' parents received an email alert from them.

Below is the email WTVR received from Sheriff Tony Lippa:

Greetings:
Most of you have heard about the incident that occurred at Caroline Middle School yesterday. The Caroline County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Caroline Middle School after notification from the school relating to a possible weapon violation. Principal Angela Wright was informed of this incident and took immediate action by getting the student away from the school population. The Caroline Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer responded and took the student and weapons from the school without incident. The juvenile was transported to the Juvenile Intake Office. After learning the identity of the student, I requested the Virginia State Police to handle this case as I feel this would be a conflict of interest. Therefore, all questions from this point forward should be directed to Sgt. Steve Vick with the Virginia State Police at 804-840-0525.
Respectfully,
Sheriff Tony Lippa