A student at Maypearl High School entered campus on Thursday at 12:34 p.m. with an unloaded handgun. He first broadcasted his intentions via the social media app, Snapchat.
The student, identified as Angel Martinez, 17, was charged with the unlawful carry of a weapon and possession of fewer than 28 grams of a Grade 3 controlled substance. Maypearl ISD Police Chief Scott Shepherd arrested Martinez on campus. The 17-year-old is currently detained at Wayne McCollum Detention Center in Waxahachie.
“The student had posted the video just prior to stepping in the door,” stated Maypearl ISD superintendent Ritchie Bowling. “Once he entered the building, there is certain protocol we do because he came in late in the day.”
Administrators received the tip after Martinez filmed himself and another male student walking into MHS. Martinez displayed a handgun in his waistband on the Snapchat video. The clip includes the quote, "Pulling up to school with a strap."
In the video, Martinez lifts up his hoodie and shows the gun tucked in his waistband.
Bowling explained the tip was made through a tip line where Shepherd was notified immediately He noted Martinez was apprehended within four minutes.
Bowling confirmed the student did not turn himself in, while also explaining that Martinez made no additional threats and no ammunition was loaded in the gun.
“I applaud campus staff who were observant and diligent in reacting swiftly, appropriately and according to district policy in a way that kept our students and staff safe,” Bowling stated in a press release issued by the district on its Facebook page.
Bowling did state the act of bringing a gun on campus is an expellable offense, but could not disclose the exact punishment for this particular student.
He also noted that, per MISD protocol, there will be an increased presence of law enforcement on all Maypearl ISD campuses for the immediate future.
Juanita Isabel is a Venus resident that has two children enrolled at MHS. One of her daughters informed her about the Snapchat video after the girls saw on the clip on her phone.
Isabel called the school to inform about the video and was told it was already under investigation.
“It was the fact that he got into the school with it," Isabel expressed over the phone. "If he had intentions to use the gun or not, he got in the school. But thank God — like everyone said — that officer Shepherd was there. He was there for his purpose, you know? I’m so thankful.”
“Thank God, the school hired someone," she emphasized.
Having a uniformed peace officer on campus has not always been the norm for Maypearl ISD, however. In fact, it's an extra layer of campus security that went into effect this school year.
Maypearl ISD Board of Trustees approved a districtwide police department on June 21. Before the measure was implemented, local law enforcement was the primary contact and typically only responded when there was reported criminal activity.
Shepherd has worked for the district since Aug. 27, 2018.
The district also implemented a new camera system throughout all campuses to replace the outdated system.
The advanced camera system includes features to zoom in on the parking lot and capture license plate numbers of vehicles. The system has high resolution, incorporates a night vision feature and has a face recognition that allows the cameras to follow particular individuals if needed.
Route buses are also now equipped with cameras as well, and the new SMART TAG technology was previously installed. The tags allow students to swipe a personalized SMART Tag when entering or exiting the school bus on the bus driver’s tablet, which tracks the number of students on board and dropped off, and can even designate a seating chart.
The district is in the process of adding a keyless system with door locks, which will also allow for the use of key cards by all staff and students.
Before the 2018-19 school year, no school resource officers were employed on any of the four MISD campuses.
- - - - - -
Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450