Student accused of bringing loaded gun to Polk County school, deputies say

Student accused of bringing loaded gun to Polk County school, deputies say

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Polk County deputies said they arrested a 17-year-old student who brought a loaded gun to school Wednesday.

Deputies said Luis Escalona brought the 9 mm handgun inside his backpack while attended classes at George Jenkins High School.

Officials alerted a school resource deputy after receiving a tip about the weapon and the deputy immediately went to Escalona’s classroom and arrested him, investigators said.

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Deputies said the handgun was found concealed inside Escalona’s backpack along with an extra loaded magazine.

"We have an absolute zero tolerance for weapons of any kind at school,” Polk County Sherriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “I thank the tipster who alerted the school to the gun and commend the school personnel and our deputy for acting quickly and decisively."

Deputies said Escalona admitted to having the handgun after recently finding it off school grounds.

"The safety of our students and staff is always paramount. In this incident, our students did exactly as we instruct them to do they saw something, and they said something,” Superintendent of Schools Jacqueline M. Byrd said in a statement. “I commend our students, staff members and law enforcement partners for working together to keep our schools safe."

Deputies said Escalona has previous arrests, including burglary and grand theft, and is now charged with possession of a firearm on campus, possession of a firearm with altered serial number, possession of a firearm by a juvenile and disruption of a school function.