ST. LOUIS (CN) — A 23-year-old Missouri man was federally charged Wednesday with bringing guns and a machete to a suburban St. Louis high school.
Dustin Lockwood is charged with possessing a firearm in a school zone in Arnold, a town of 21,250 southwest of St. Louis. He is in custody pending a hearing on Feb. 26. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
Arnold police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were called to Fox Senior High School at about 4 p.m. Tuesday when a school staff member reported a man sitting in a black 2001 Toyota Corolla in the school parking lot, who appeared to have a rifle case in the passenger seat, according to an affidavit.
Officers approached and saw Lockwood sitting in the driver’s seat with a gray and back rifle case in the rear of the car.
Searching the car, officers found a .22 caliber rifle, .22 caliber revolver, multiple spent shell casings throughout the vehicle, a suspected homemade silencer, and multiple bags and boxes in the trunk containing explosives material, several knives, a machete, and .22 and 9mm caliber ammunition.
A search of Lockwood’s residence turned up numerous chemicals and bomb-making components. Lockwood allegedly told ATF agents and police officers that the explosive material in his car and home was for legal purposes.
Lockwood told officers he was at the school to pick up his sister and was about to pawn the rifle found in his car, according to charging documents.
He was taken into custody without incident.
The arrest came with the nation still on edge after a mass murder at Parkland, Florida killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day.
Lockwood’s grandfather, Steven Lockwood, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his grandson made his own fireworks.
“He’s always been a good kid, though,” Steven Lockwood told the newspaper. “He’s never been violent or hurt anybody or bothered anybody.”
The school was evacuated and evening activities were canceled Tuesday. Parents received an automated phone call from school superintendent James Wipke on Tuesday advising them of the incident.
Arnold’s population is 96 percent white, according to city-data.com. Its median income of $63,994 was 24 percent higher than the statewide median of $51,746 in 2016.
Arnold police Lt. James Jones told the Post-Dispatch that “it does not appear the male intended to commit any act, as he claims he left the items in his car.”
Wipke told the Post-Dispatch there was no evidence of any threat or plan to harm anyone at the school.
“I want to be very clear — law enforcement made their decisions based on what they found in the suspect’s car, not because of any plan or threat directed at our school or against the district,” Wipke wrote in an email to the newspaper. “Likewise, this incident has no connection to any prior reported threats. Indications are that the suspect was only on campus to pick up a relative after school.”
This was the second time that Fox High School officials have had to act to perceived gun threats since the Florida shooting. On Feb. 15, a 16-year-old male student was arrested after threatening to bring a gun or explosives to the high school.
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