Armed student in custody; West Ottawa HS lockdown lifted

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Detectives are trying to determine why a student at West Ottawa High School had a handgun that was possibly stolen from Wisconsin. 

The student, 17, is locked up at the Ottawa County Jail on felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a stolen firearm, along with a misdemeanor charge of possessing a gun on school property. 

The incident led to a lockdown and anxious moments for students, teachers and parents. 

Detectives interviewed the student but don’t know why he brought the gun, though they say they believe he had it inside the school at one point. 

“Right now, there’s no clear indication he had any intended target at the school,” Capt. Mark Bennett said. “Why he brought the weapon to school, obviously that’s one of our main questions.” 

Police refused to say if the gun was loaded. 

“I’m not going to get into the status of the particular firearm,” Bennett said. “We’re still delving into that firearm.” 

The student has no criminal record, according to Ottawa County Juvenile Court. 

His Facebook page gives no indication of a possible motive, but it’s been almost three years since he has posted anything. 

A woman who identified herself as his mother contacted 24 Hour News 8. She said her son had found the gun, forgot he had it in his backpack and didn’t intend to hurt anyone. 

Bennett said students found out about the potential threat and immediately went to administrators, “which is exactly what we would want.” 

Those administrators notified school deputies around 10:28 a.m. 

The deputies found the student outside the building and took him into custody without incident, according to Bennett. 

In a tweet just before 11:30 a.m., the school said the lockdown and shelter in place order had been lifted and normal school activities had resumed. The school did not release any additional information regarding the incident. 

The district alerted parents via its Campus Messenger system after the incident. The message stated: 

“The purpose of this message is to keep you informed regarding an incident at West Ottawa High School this morning. Due to an isolated student incident, West Ottawa High School went into a lockdown situation for a short period of time. After the isolated incident was resolved, the school operated under shelter in place while the WOHS administration worked with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department on the matter. As of 11:20 a.m. we have resumed all normal school activities. We will follow up with more information to parents at a later time.” 

The sheriff’s department said it got warrants on Thursday and searched his home and another location. They didn’t say what they were looking for or what, if anything they found. 

**CORRECTION: Based on a story by the Holland Sentinel, an earlier version of this story stated Capt. Mark Bennett confirmed there were reports of a suspect on the roof with a gun. However, the Sentinel later clarified the suspect was not on the roof.**

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