Crime

Student with gun at school in Rock Hill had previous convictions, charges

Sullivan Middle School mom says swift action after shooting threat made a difference

Sullivan Middle School student parent Florence Aaron talks about the threat another student made Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, to "shoot up the school" including students and staff, according to police. The student was charged with disturbing schools.
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Sullivan Middle School student parent Florence Aaron talks about the threat another student made Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, to "shoot up the school" including students and staff, according to police. The student was charged with disturbing schools.

The student at a Rock Hill school arrested for carrying a loaded gun to school Wednesday has previous convictions and a pending weapon charge, records show.

Tony Alexander Lopez, 18, has previous criminal convictions for failure to stop his car for police and DUI, court records show.

Lopez is accused of having the loaded pistol in his book bag and showing it to another student on the Northwestern High School campus Wednesday.

Court and police records show that Lopez was arrested in September 2017 for possession of the sawed-off rifle while a passenger in a car in Rock Hill. That arrest did not happen at a school and had no connection with school, police and prosecutors said.

Schools are by law “gun-free zones” and any weapon case will be handled with more scrutiny because staff, children and parents must feel schools are safe, said Kevin Brackett, 16th Circuit Solicitor.

“Other than law enforcement, guns have no business at school,” Brackett said. “There is no purpose or any reason for anyone who is not law enforcement to ever have a gun at school. Any weapon at school always creates the highest level of concern.”

Both felony charges remain pending, Brackett said Thursday.

In Wednesday’s incident, police said Lopez had the gun in his book bag. Another student told the school resource officer after seeing the gun as school that morning. Lopez was pulled from school and arrested.

Lopez said he picked up the wrong book bag at home Wednesday morning when questioned by police at the school, according to an incident report. Lopez told police he was “agitated and in a hurry” after an argument with his mother before school and grabbed the wrong book bag, a police report states.

Lopez refused to tell police who owns the gun, said Capt. Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department.

Lopez said another student saw the gun. Lopez said he “asked for him not to tell,” the police incident report states.

Lopez refused to tell police why he had a gun at school, according to Bollinger and the police report.

Brackett said his office will not accept or tolerate guns at school.

“Like the school districts in York County and the police agencies that serve at the schools, we will have no tolerance for threats of violence at school or guns at school,” Brackett said.

Lopez was sentenced to 30 days in jail in 2017 after failing to stop for police during a traffic stop, court records show. He received four days in jail after a conviction for DUI earlier in 2017, records show.

Lopez could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on both pending weapon charges. The possession of a sawed off rifle carries up to 10 years and possession of a gun on school grounds carries up to five years.

Lopez remains in the York County jail under a $3,000 bond on the charge from Wednesday’s gun at school.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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