Authorities add felony charges, $100,000 bond for middle school coach
By Nathan Hardin
Deputies added felony charges and a $100,500 bond Sunday afternoon after a Corriher-Lipe Middle School coach allegedly choked a student, assaulted a parent and had a handgun on school grounds on Thursday.
According to a Magistrate’s Office report, Jared John Gallagher, 40, was arrested and charged with felony kidnapping for “restraining the victim without consent of the victim’s parent,” felony strangulation and misdemeanor interfering with emergency communication and carrying a concealed weapon.
Rowan County Sheriff’s Office deputies said Thursday that Gallagher, the assistant football coach, reportedly began trying to strangle a 12-year-old student as they went to the locker room after football practice on Thursday and had a semi-automatic Beretta 9-mm handgun with 79 rounds in his truck when authorities searched it.
When head coach, Douglas Pruitt, saw the incident, the report said, he immediately shouted at Gallagher to stop.
The man then attempted to fight Pruitt and twisted his arm behind his back when Pruitt tried to dial 911 dispatch.
Pruitt declined to comment.
A parent stepped in, the report said, and fought Gallagher while Pruitt made the emergency phone call.
Pruitt told deputies “punches were exchanged between Gallagher and the parent.”
When officers arrived, Gallagher demanded a nearby deputy take his glasses off and said, according to the report, “Are we going to do this?”
Deputies used their Tasers three times on Gallagher, before restraining him.
After restraining the man, the report said, assistant principal Gary Barringer asked officers to take Gallagher’s school keys.
The report said as officers searched Gallagher’s Toyota Tacoma, finding the handgun.
The seventh grader was “visibly shaken”, the report said, after the incident.
Gallagher began as a substitute teacher for the school in Sept. 2009 and was quickly hired as the In-School-Suspension teacher assistant.
Parents were notified on Friday via the online communications platform Connect Ed by Principal Beverly Pugh and were also given a letter to take home to parents.
The letter referred to Gallagher’s arrest as “the incident” and did not mention the discovered pistol and ammunition.
The middle school had additional law enforcement officers on school grounds on Friday and Saturday morning.
Gallagher, 924 Oval St., was initially charged with misdemeanor child abuse, misdemeanor possession of a weapon on educational grounds, misdemeanor assault on a school employee and misdemeanor resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer.