Grandfather charged after middle school gun incident

Baltimore County police served a criminal summons for Norman James Gatewood, 70, whose grandson reportedly walked into Stemmers Run Middle School with a gun Tuesday. Gatewood, of the 300 block of Stillwater Road, is the owner of the handgun and is charged with violating the law requiring gun owners to secure their weapons from children.

"We'll charge any individual who violates the [gun] law," said Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson.

Following an August 27 shooting at Perry Hall High School, Johnson said people who keep guns at home should go above what the law requires by securing unloaded as well as loaded weapons. In an article posted August 31 on Baltimore County NOW at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/news , Johnson wrote, "Regardless of our opinions about guns and gun control, we ought to be able to agree on this: The consequences of not securing firearms in the home can be disastrous."

At the press briefing today, Johnson displayed several guns of the type that the Stemmers Run student took to class – all smaller than a cell phone. He also displayed the simple, inexpensive locking mechanisms that gun owners can use to prevent guns from being used improperly.

"The teachable moment here is, ‘Lock your weapons up,'" Johnson said.

Students and teachers say the incident happened during class change and was a result of a fight between a few students that happened on Monday. Students at the school say there was a fight Tuesday morning in a hallway that may have been related to that previous incident, and word was that someone had a gun.

As a result, Stemmers Run Middle School was placed on lockdown and the Baltimore County Police Department was called to the scene. Officials say no one was injured.

A female teacher reportedly saw the eighth-grade student with the gun and wrestled it out of the student's hands.

Per school officials, students were not dismissed early.

Police Chief James Johnson, county executive Kevin Kamenetz and school superintendent Dallas Dance will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. in the lobby of the Public Safety Building, 700 E. Joppa Rd., Towson, to discuss the incident.

Police say no further details will be provided until then.

Parents are currently arriving in swarms to pick up students. Several parents expressed frustration with the incident.

"We wanna know exactly what's happened," one parent said as she waited outside the school Tuesday morning. "We don't wanna wait until two o'clock. I mean, we're getting messages from the news that lets us know what's going on -- not from the school itself."

According to the Baltimore County Public Schools website, Stemmers Run Middle School serves about 680 students.

The incident at Stemmers Run Middle School is the second incident involving a gun at a Baltimore County school in recent weeks. The other happened at Perry Hall High School on the first day of school and resulted in the charging of a 15-year-old with attempted murder and a 17-year-old disabled student being rushed to a local hospital.


IN-DEPTH | Perry Hall High School shooting


Check back with ABC2 News as we continue to follow this story.

About Stemmers Run Middle School

Stemmers Run Middle School serves the Essex Community of Baltimore County. It's touted as a comprehensive middle school, serving students and their families in grades six through eight. The school was honored by The Southern Regional Education Board as most improved middle school in 2002. According to the most recent AYP status graph, goals for all students in reading and math were not met in 2011.

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