On Tuesday, December 6, 2022, Lake Wales Police Officers responded to the entrance of Dinner Lake, a subdivision on Chalet Suzanne Road, regarding a “toy gun” being in the bushes there. Upon Officer Viera’s arrival, he located a purple drawstring backpack behind one of the bushes near the entrance. Inside was a Glock 23 handgun. The gun had 15 rounds in the magazine and none in the chamber.
This location is a school bus stop. Officers learned a 13-year-old student brought the gun to the bus stop the morning before. He was showing it to other students, and telling them it was a BB gun. He placed it behind the bushes before getting on the bus. Another student told his mother he thought the gun was a BB gun or a toy gun and where it was. She called us this morning to report it.
Officers began to interview the suspect who had brought the gun and other students. Officers learned no threats were ever made with the gun. The suspect had brought the gun to the bus stop to show others to “look cool.” The suspect had taken the gun from a guest room at his grandmother’s house over the weekend. Officer’s are still trying to determine who the gun belongs to.
The suspect is being charged with possession of a firearm on school property and possession of a firearm by a minor under 18 years of age. The suspect and the other students attend McLaughlin Middle School.
Even though there were no threats and the school, students and staff remain safe, this is a good time to remind everyone, “If you see something, say something.”
If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact Officer Viera at the Lake Wales Police Department at 863-678-4223 or anonymously at Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477).