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Friday, June 14, 2024

Fort Clarke student arrested after bringing loaded gun to school

Some parents expressed concerns about the school’s handling of the incident

A Fort Clarke middle schooler was arrested after he brought a loaded gun to campus Friday.

Jaylan Hillman, a Gainesville resident, stole a handgun from his mother before bringing it to school, according to an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office press release. The 15-year-old was taken to the Juvenile Detention Center and charged with theft and possession at school.

Jackie Johnson, Alachua County Public Schools’ spokesperson, said he was isolated and in law enforcement’s custody as soon as the weapon was found. 

At least two parents said the school received prior warning of potential violence on campus. 

Three of Lurenzo Murray’s children attend Fort Clarke. He said his 14-year-old daughter, Makenna Murray, overheard a conversation between classmates on Thursday about a potential shooting. Makenna, an eighth grader, decided to report the matter immediately.

Although Murray was originally skeptical of what his daughter told him, he now believes the school fell short in mitigating the threat.

“When I see on Facebook this gun was actually taken and it was loaded and ready, I just think everything failed,” he said. “I think the school system had failed on that threat.”

Olaolu Ogunlano said his sixth-grade son voiced concerns to him April 6 about a potential shooting.

Ogunlano said his child heard from a friend that two students were planning on carrying out a school shooting. He said they had a list of people to target and intended to carry out the crime before the end of the academic year. 

Ogunlano said he reached out to the father of the friend, Fort Clarke’s Dean Daniel Lathem and Assistant Principal Brad Hutchinson. Hutchinson told him the issue was linked to a dispute over a video game. 

Ogunlano said he will not be sending his son back to Fort Clarke because of the incident.

“I appreciate the fact that they did catch it before it happened, but, at the same time, I don’t appreciate the fact that they were just so nonchalant about it,” he said.   

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Johnson said incidents like Friday generally result in a recommendation for expulsion. She declined to comment on details pertaining to Hillman’s case. Every case is looked at individually, and factors such as disability determine what repercussions would look like, she said. 

In response to parents’ concerns, Johnson said ACPS takes such threats seriously and immediately performs a threat assessment. 

Contact Omar at Follow him on Twitter @OAteyah.

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Omar Ateyah

Omar Ateyah is a third-year journalism student and the Alligator's Race and Equity reporter. He previously served as the Alligator's crime reporter and as a news assistant on the Metro Desk. He enjoys going on long, thoughtful walks. 

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