Man who left loaded gun at BOE meeting will not face charges

| July 5, 2016

valdosta boe

VALDOSTA – A Superior Court of Lowndes County Grand Jury has elected not to indict a man who left a loaded handgun at a Valdosta City Schools board meeting.

On May 12, the Valdosta Police Department was notified that a small handgun was found in the school board meeting room at 1204 Williams Street following a VCS Board of Education meeting, said VPD Lt. Adam Bembry.

“The firearm, a loaded Derringer 32 caliber revolver, was located by a custodian who was cleaning the board room the next morning after the May 10 school board meeting. Once received by the police department, an investigation was initiated to determine how the firearm got in the board room and who the owner was,” Bembry said. “The firearm was sent to the Valdosta/Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory for ballistic testing and for an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Trace to determine a possible owner.”

Before investigators could get the results of the ATF trace, the owner of the firearm arrived at the Valdosta Police Department to claim the gun, Bembry said.

“The owner provided proof of ownership for the firearm and also provided proof that he possessed a valid Georgia Firearms Carry License,” Bembry said. “Over the next few weeks, several interviews took place with the owner of the firearm to determine why the firearm was brought to the school board.”

The investigation reportedly revealed that the owner often carried the firearm on his person and forgot that he had the firearm on his person while attending the meeting.

“The investigation also determined there was reasonable evidence that the firearm fell out of the owner’s pocket while at the school board meeting and there appeared no intent to harm anyone with the weapon,” Bembry said.

Firearms, however, are not allowed in school “safety zones” like the Board of Education building, according to Georgia law.

“Because the owner of the firearm possessed a valid firearms permit, Georgia Law stipulates such an offense, normally a felony, is a misdemeanor offense for valid firearms holders,” Bembry said. “Therefore, the police department discussed the case with the State Solicitor and District Attorney’s Office and it was agreed that the case should be reviewed by the Grand Jury.”

On Friday, a Grand Jury reviewed charges against the individual, including misdemeanor possession of a firearm in a school safety zone and felony false statement to a law enforcement officer. The grand jury elected not to indict on both charges.

Valdosta Today has chosen not to print the individual’s name because no charges were filed.



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8 Comments on "Man who left loaded gun at BOE meeting will not face charges"

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  1. lchb says:

    Ballistic testing to determine a possible owner my foot. I can promise you that you would not be able to determine that I own any of my firearms by a ballistics test. None of my firearms have ever been used in the commission of a crime, but that wouldn’t tell them who they belonged to anyway.

    They were fishing. Try again VPD.

  2. Pancho Rambo says:

    Double standard abound in South Georgua. Eric Shepard is targeted by police who conduct an illegal search based on a “tip” and vilify a person who also had legally obtained a weapon and carried it onto a similar area. But this person is let go Scot free even their identity is withheld. This even after he/she committed a felony for lying to authorities. Yep, there ain’t no such thing as racism and the “good ole boy” network.

    • An Observer says:

      Please. Spend a few minutes looking up YouTube videos of Shepard’s vitriol against whites, homosexuals, women and anyone else he deems a threat to his jihadist way of thinking. That fellow is a loose cannon, acts of terrorism lurking in his mind, waiting for an opportunity. He speaks about killing specific people and tries to gain followers. Contrast that with a person who possessed a firearm legally and has a clean record and no public postings of hate. Granted there was inexcusable carelessness involved, but again, contrast that with spoken intent to kill. It ain’t apples to apples, not even in the same basket.

      • Pancho Rambo says:

        Observer, how do you know this man hadn’t made threats or aggressive comments at a school board meeting before this incident. The answer. You don’t, because his identity has been shielded. You can find videos made by Sheppard because you know who he is, you can do a search. The comment by John Taylor shows that you are ignorant to the right to protest, even to burn the flag. It isn’t your judgement of what is or isn’t right these issues have been clarified in our judicial system. When you are white you have no idea what it is to live as a minority, you think you know but you don’t. In this case if he was innocent then why did have to lie? That is a felony but you all downplay that because he obviously is white and you accept and permit his anger and outrage. You aren’t labeled as a terrorist if you are white.

    • John Taylor says:

      You are correct…we are extremely biased towards those desecrate the flag.

      Maybe you should just move away.

    • Eric "Da Blacksheep" TrixNDix says:

      I choose the Race Card…….

  3. nice says:

    wait so I thought he did purchase his gun legally and now he speaks in ways that you don’t like does not make it illegal

  4. Really says:

    Wow! Childish has showed us once again that he is willing to help those who he thinks can help him. This was done in such poor taste that I hope those who face similar charges make sure that they say it was a mistake and lie and say that they didn’t have the gun on them at the meeting but eventually tell the truth. Many of us would be arrested but as we know Childish is trying to impress certain people although he has aways to go when it comes to the make up of diversity on his police staff.