CITRA, Fla -- A 14-year-old and a 16-year-old at North Marion High School face charges Friday after authorities say they were caught carrying a rifle and ammo around campus.
Marion County Sheriff's Office detectives arrested and charged the two students in a case that involved a shotgun, ammo and a plan to rob two businesses. Right now, ninth-grader Alexander P. Aten, 14, of Reddick and 10th0grader Donavin Saldania-Scott, 16, of Ocala are in the Marion County Sheriff's Office juvenile detention unit.
Originally, Marion County Public Schools PIO Kevin Christian told Action News administrators were tipped off about 9:15 Friday morning. They located one boy outside on the bleachers during PE class. Action News is told he isn't a baseball player, but was walking around all morning with the rifle in a baseball bat bag.
"I didn't know what was going on everyone was saying there was a gun somewhere," said 10th grader Ahte Moody.
Christian says administrators were alerted by another student who caught wind the boy had the rifle with him. Kids like Moody are glad that student wasn't afraid to speak up.
"Pretty glad that people have enough sense to do that at our school. Probably saved a couple kids lives maybe," he said.
Andy Vu is friends with the freshman. While he agrees bringing the gun to school wasn't smart, he doesn't think the boy had planned to shoot anyone.
"I heard he brought it to school to bring to his friends house after school to go hunting or play around with it or whatever," he said.
"We're foolish to say kids weren't in some kind of danger because you have a gun on campus," Christian said.
But despite the scare, mom Lori Richards is confident this is still a safe place for her kids.
"We still have complete faith in our school to keep our kids safe," she said. "We know they did everything they could or what they were supposed to do."
All parents were notified around noon today through a recorded message. Action News has learned several parents did pull their kids out early. But at no point was the school locked down.
Marion County Sheriff's officials have not released the charges or identity of either person.