• Lynda Cohen

Lockdown at Absegami ends with no injuries, gun recovered

Updated: Mar 19

A 15-year-old Absegami High School student was arrested Friday after he allegedly brought a loaded gun to school. Police were called to the high school at about 2 p.m., for a report of a student seen carrying a handgun in gym class, which was outside the are of the track/football field bleachers. Galloway police and school personnel went to the field, and saw the student, and a lockdown was announced over the loudspeakers, police said. When the student saw officers approaching, he put his hand in his left front pants pocket, grasped something and ran out of the officers’ view, according to the report. Officers detained him at the edge of the bleachers, but he did not have a gun, police said. Police from Absecon, Mullica Township and Atlantic County SWAT came to assist. Fearing that the gun may have been passed to another student, all students in the area were ordered to lay on the ground, according to the report. All were patted down and removed from the area without the weapon being found. Police then searched the area, and found a .380 Jimenez Arms automatic pistol under the bleachers. The gun had five founds and one loaded in the chamber. The lockdown was then lifted and students were escorted to their buses without injury. Dismissal for other area schools was delayed and stayed in “shelter in place” mode until Absegami was cleared. The lockdown lasted about 40 minutes, with dismissal delayed about 20. At 2:55 p.m., Principal Jeri-Lynn Vernon sent a message to parents confirming there was an incident, and saying the lockdown had ended. “Everything went very, very smoothly,” Police Chief Donna Higbee said shortly after the incident ended. The unnamed student from Galloway Township was charged with possession of a weapon, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possession of a weapon on school property and possession of a defaced firearm. He was taken to the Atlantic County Juvenile Detention Center. Anyone who may have additional information is asked to call Detective Sgt. Ryan Goehringer at 609-652-3705, ext. 331. Tips can also be anonymously submitted through Atlantic County Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234.

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