Tifton Police investigate elementary school gun - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tifton Police investigate elementary school gun

October 2, 2006

Tift County-  Tifton Police are dealing with a gun scare after several students claim a 10 year old classmate brought a loaded gun to school and threatened them. That 10 year old student Markel Stevenson spent the weekend at the Crisp County RYDC pending a hearing Monday. 

Markel Stevenson is charged with three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of terroristic threats and bringing a firearm to school. His mother said the allegation against her son just can't be true.

Written statements from several students at Charles Spencer Elementary claim 10 year old Markel Stevenson brought a loaded gun to school. Stevenson's mother finds the allegations hard to believe.

"I look through his book bag everyday because there's an agenda I've got to sign everyday, I look in the book bag everyday. I never seen a gun in my son's book bag," said  Latracia Stevenson, Markel's mother.

Stevenson was in trouble for being disruptive in class Tuesday, the gun was reportedly brought to school Wednesday and Stevenson was home sick Thursday. Friday students came forward saying Stevenson had threatened them in the bathroom.

"If you said that he threw a book on the floor or he slammed a door because he was mad yes, I would believe that, but taking a gun to school, I'm not going to believe that never. He's not a violent child," said Stevenson.

Several recent shootings at schools have Tifton Police taking Wednesday's incident very seriously, but police stopped short of saying who else they're questioning in this case.

"We are investigating it vigorously, but the time lapse between the alleged incident and the report of it does diminish our ability to find the evidence," said Det. Raleigh Coarsey, Tifton Police.

Latracia questioned whether it was a real gun or not? Police wouldn't answer our questions either.

"Was a gun ever discovered?"

"I would rather not get into the details of the case at this time," said Coarsey.

While Latracia admits to having a loaded gun in the home for protection and that her son at one point confessed, she says that confession was coerced.

"He said he told them yeah, he did bring the gun to school, but he was scared, he said he had been in the office he hadn't had anything to eat all day," said Stevenson.

Markel Stevenson had a detention hearing Monday.  Stevenson was not allowed to return to school but he was sent home where he remains under house arrest pending another court date in two weeks. He's also facing expulsion from school.

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