On Monday morning, a Freedom High School student was arrested after a gun was found in his bookbag. No threats were made to other students or the school in general. The gun was reported stolen and was loaded at the time.
At 9:30 a.m., a school staff member approached a student who was trying to exit the bathroom after reports of students smoking in the restroom. The student was reluctant to hand over his backpack; however, the staff member was able to retrieve it and advised the student, 14-year-old Bryan Walden, to proceed to the front office.
Walden then ran from the school and left the campus. The backpack was searched by an assistant principal, who found a firearm inside. The assistant principal notified the School Resource Officer, who then retrieved a Taurus 9mm with an 11-round magazine. The gun was previously reported stolen out of Orange County.
“We are deeply concerned about this situation and thankful that the gun was not used,” said Chief Lee Bercaw. “We are actively investigating how the teen obtained the gun. We must all do our part in keeping our youth safe and away from firearms, and I urge everyone in our community to join us in this effort.”
After learning of the incident, the mother of the student brought Walden to the Tampa Police District Two Office, where he was placed into custody. Walden was transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center, charged with Possession of a Firearm on School Property and Minor in Possession of a Firearm.