Students at a high school just a 20-minute drive away from St. Mary’s College of Maryland were reportedly thwarted after a “threat of mass violence.” 25 firearms were seized from a local home in relation to the arrests.
On Feb. 22 the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office reported, that on Feb. 16, two boys were overheard talking about their plans to bring their guns to Leonardtown High School. These comments prompted a joint investigation from the Criminal Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division and, St. Mary’s County Public Schools and the School Resource Officer.
Investigators say that they found “concerning” social media posts and learned that one of the boys had access to firearms. Using this information, they were able to obtain search warrants which ultimately led them to find “semi-automatic rifles, handguns and other weapons.” All of the found firearms were seized, along with ammunition.
According to ABC-7, one of the teen’s dads, David Fairfax, was also charged with crimes as he was “living in the home where all of those guns were not locked up.” Fairfax was charged with two counts of “reckless endangerment,” one count of “access to a firearm by a minor,” and one count of “illegal transfer of a firearm,” according to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office says that the accused students are 15 and 16 years old. Under current Maryland law, you must be 18 years old to possess a semi-automatic rifle, and 21 to possess a handgun.
ABC-7 News reports that the conversation which prompted this investigation took place on a school bus and that the boys were heard claiming that “they could have done it better” than the Florida shooter who murdered 17 people in mid-February.
The Parkland shooting has brought on an ongoing national conversation on gun control.
Semi-automatic weapons are partially restricted in Maryland. The “Firearm Safety Act of 2013” outlaws “assault weapons.” The act defines “assault weapon” as a “semiautomatic centerfire rifle” either equipped with certain features such as a grenade launcher, “a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds,” or “a semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less [sic] than 29 inches.” Reporting implies the weapons which the boys had access to were not illegal.
“‘See Something, Say Something’ works, in this case, someone heard something, they said something,” said St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron in a press conference on the matter, “and immediately the communication began which [got us to] where we are today.”