Two men arrested after bringing guns to Hickman campus

8 months 2 weeks 4 days ago Monday, October 02 2017 Oct 2, 2017 Monday, October 02, 2017 4:38:00 PM CDT October 02, 2017 in News
By: Ally Wallenta, KOMU 8 Reporter and Jordan Smith, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
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COLUMBIA - Two men were arrested Monday after being found on the Hickman High School campus with firearms.

Michelle Baumstark, Community Relations Director for Columbia Public Schools, told KOMU the men approached the outside lunch tables at approximately 12:54 p.m. while students were in their second lunch period. Faculty realized the men were not students, and school resource officers escorted them off the property.

The men returned moments after, and they were detained by the school resource officers so a search could be conducted. It was then found that the men were in possession of handguns, and afterwards they were arrested.

Police identified the suspects as Jamel Tackett, 18, and Frank Gray, 18, both from Columbia. Officers said in addition to the guns, one of which was reportedly stolen, both suspects also had prescription Alprazolam pills, commonly known as Xanax, with them. 

“They were on our campus and they weren’t supposed to be on our campus, and so our faculty did exactly what they are supposed to do when we have individuals who do not belong on our school campuses," said Baumstark. "They alerted the SROs, the SROs did exactly what they are trained to do and took the situation under control." 

Hickman principal Tony Gragnani assured parents in an email Monday that the men never entered the building.

"I take this incident very seriously. The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority," Gragnani said. "Our Hickman faculty and school resource officers followed proper protocol and procedures and were quickly able to address the situation."

Many students believe the school's resource officers do a good job at keeping the property safe. 

“I feel like people just keep us secured and covered if there are any incidents," said student, Armin Basalic. "I don’t really feel any danger.”  

(Editor's Note: this story has been updated with information on the suspects and their arrests)

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