Metal Detectors Prevent Student From Bringing Gun to Northeast School

Police arrested the 15-year-old boy shortly after the incident on Monday.

Samuel Fels High School. Inset: The gun seized by police on Monday morning. (Photo provided by PPD)

Metal detectors placed at the entryways of Samuel Fels High School in Northeast Philadelphia prevented a young teen from bringing a .40-caliber handgun to class with him early Monday morning.

Police say an alarm sounded at the Summerdale school around 7:30 a.m., which prompted security personnel to search an unidentified 15-year-old boy’s belongings. In his backpack among textbooks and papers, police say, was a fully loaded Smith and Wesson.

Fels, at 5500 Langdon Street, was placed on lockdown for 45 minutes until police were able to determine that no other threat existed. The boy, a freshman who reportedly has no prior history of disciplinary issues or a criminal record, was taken into custody and charged with two felonies: theft of a firearm and possession of a firearm on school property.

Police spokesman Capt. Sekou Kinebrew says the teen admitted to stealing the gun from a car in Olney, but he did not explain why. The boy’s motive for bringing it with him to school is also unknown at this time.

Assistant principal Lillian Izzard sent the following letter home with students:

This letter is to inform you of a serious incident that occurred at Fels High School this morning. Today, a student was found in possession of a loaded firearm when his school bag went through the entry scan at the building entrance. The School Police took immediate possession of the school bag and immediately contacted the Philadelphia Police Department.

At that point the school went into lockdown until we could make sure there was no additional threats to the school. No threat was discovered and the lockdown was lifted at 8:22 a.m. No students or staff were harmed and the student in question is in custody with the Philadelphia Police Department.

I want to assure you that we take the health and safety of our students very seriously and that we have taken the necessary steps in response to this incident. If you or your child has any concerns regarding this incident, I encourage you to please contact my office directly. Please note that the Philadelphia Police and School District Police will conduct a full investigation regarding this incident.

This incident underlines the need for all of us, as a school community, to work together to ensure the safety of our school and our neighborhood. Please take the time to speak to your children about the serious consequences of bringing any type of weapon to school. It is important that children know that if they need help or have a concern regarding their own personal safety to please contact a school staff member or a police officer immediately.

If you have additional questions or concerns please feel free to contact my office at (215) 400-7100.