West Rowan High School student charged after gun found in backpack

Published 2:20 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

MOUNT ULLA — A West Rowan High School student remained behind bars Tuesday after he was charged Friday with possession of a handgun on school property. Rowan County authorities said the gun was found inside the student’s backpack.

Stephen Andrew McClary, 16, faces felony charges and likely suspension from school. McClary was issued a $10,000 secured bond and remains in the Rowan County Detention Center. He also had a knife, according to Rowan County Sheriff’s officials.

An assistant principal at the high school was told by a student that McClary might have a gun on campus. He was removed from class and asked if he had anything with him that he should not have, said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. John Sifford.

McClary told the school staff that he had a knife in his right boot, officials said, and he gave the knife to the assistant principal. While searching his backpack, officials discovered a .45-caliber handgun wrapped in a towel.

The gun was not loaded, and no magazines were found in the backpack, Sifford said.

Investigators said McClary obtained the gun while visiting a relative in another state over the Christmas holiday. The gun was taken without permission, the said.

The teen was charged with felony possession of a weapon on campus or other educational property, misdemeanor possession of a weapon on campus or other educational property, and misdemeanor possession of a firearm by a minor. He had a first court appearance Monday.

According to a Salisbury-Rowan Schools policy, a student found with a weapon could face suspension of 365 days unless the superintendent modifies the terms.

— Shavonne Walker

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