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The Roanoke Rapids Police Department continues to investigate a case in which a gun was located in the area of Chaloner Middle School.

Both the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District and police Chief Bobby Martin said the gun never made its way to the campus.

Officer Joe DeSare discovered the handgun in the area of Lewis Street near the school, Martin said.

DeSare has discussed the matter with a juvenile student, the school system and the child’s parents, Martin said this afternoon. “We don’t know how the juvenile got it. We’re going to investigate further.”

Martin credited a witness who observed a student acting suspiciously on their way to school this morning. “That’s why it’s important to report things like this. As soon as we get it we respond to it.”

The police chief declined to comment further on the caliber of the weapon or whether it was loaded.

He did say the student was on their way to school when the handgun was hidden.

In a statement, the school system said it is working with the police department on the matter. “The underage student reportedly placed a gun in some bushes in a nearby park prior to coming to campus. A neighbor called Roanoke Rapids police who, in turn, alerted our staff. The gun was never on our campus.  As always safety is our priority.”

System Superintendent Dain Butler said in the statement, “We believe good communication between our students, parents, staff, and law enforcement is one of the best tools to keep our schools safe, which is why we are being transparent and making the community aware of situations like this even though there was no apparent threat.

“We appreciate our school neighbors being alert and the quick response by the police and our staff.”