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Published November 04, 2010, 03:35 PM

Fargo South Students Arrested for Stolen Guns

Authorities say eight male students were arrested at Fargo South High School after a handgun was found in a parked car on campus.

By: Forum Communications,

Police say eight juveniles were arrested Wednesday at Fargo South High School after a stolen revolver was found in a student’s vehicle in the school’s parking lot.

Sgt. Mark Lykken said a second handgun was also found at a student’s home on Wednesday, and police suspect that gun, a .9 mm pistol, had been on school property earlier in the day.

Lykken said those guns and three others found at yet another student’s residence are believed to have been stolen in a burglary at a nearby home.

Schools officials and police said there was no indication that any of the students planned to use the weapons at school. Lykken said that determination is based on interviews with the students arrested.

“Nobody was in danger,” said Lowell Wolff, assistant superintendent.

Lykken said the eight juveniles arrested are boys who are either 15 years old or 16 years old. All will be referred to juvenile court on a potential charge of burglary, possession of stolen property, concealing a weapon or possession of alcohol as a minor, or a mix of multiple charges.

At a Thursday afternoon news conference, Lykken said he wasn’t sure how many of the eight juveniles face a burglary charge. The guns were all thought to be stolen from the same home, and the owner didn’t know they were gone until notified by police Wednesday.

Wolff said school sanctions won’t be considered until the juvenile court cases are resolved.

Lykken and Wolff reiterated numerous times at the news conference there was no reason to suspect the incident to turn violent.

Still, it’s a serious matter because of the possibility of an accidental discharge or other mishap, Lykken said.

“Certainly, it’s not a good situation,” Lykken said.

Wolff said school officials did consider locking South High down, but the only consideration was whether a lockdown would assist in the search for firearms.

He said the district may send out an explanation to South High parents via its mass notification phone system later today. School officials had only taken three calls from concerned parents as of mid-afternoon, Wolff said.

The decision not to notify parents on Wednesday, the day guns were found and the students were arrested, was based on investigators not considering the situation dangerous, he said.

“Absent threat to life, we’re much more relaxed about things,” Wolff said.

The investigation began at 8 a.m. Wednesday when a student told a police school resource officer at South High that rumors were flying about someone having guns on campus.

Lykken said that he’s not sure if any of the guns were loaded, though officers did seize an ammunition clip with the .9 mm pistol. It’s not been confirmed, but it was reported to police that the pistol was seen in a school bathroom, he said.

Wolff said no changes in school security procedures are anticipated, and he said the best antidote to school violence is a good relationship between students and the school’s staff.