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East Rowan High student charged with taking gun to school


Donald Marion Maness

By Shavonne Walker


ROCKWELL — An East Rowan High School student was charged with taking a gun to school on Wednesday. Officials say the gun was not loaded, but the student had ammunition with him.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office charged 17-year-old Donald Marion Maness of the 7000 block of Red Road with felony possession of a weapon on school property. He remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $5,000 secured bond.

Officials said he had a Smith & Wesson 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun wrapped in a T-shirt in his backpack. He also had a magazine with bullets.

According to the Capt. John Sifford, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from Nazareth Children’s Home saying it had received a report about students having a gun from the Wilkes County Department of Social Services.

The initial information was that three students were suspected of having a gun on campus. Officials at East Rowan High and Nazareth Children’s Home as well as Rowan County Deputy Scott Flowers and School Resource Officer Tommie Cato worked to identify the students and determine if there was in fact a weapon, a report said.

Sifford said by 1:30 p.m., Maness was identified as the lone suspect. He was arrested at the school.

According to a report, Maness said he was scared to turn the gun in at school and planned to turn it in at Nazareth Children’s Home after school.

Authorities say the gun was stolen from Jason Shive, who lives not far from the Nazareth campus on Bird Dog Trail in Rockwell. The gun had been in Shive’s truck and he was unaware it was gone. Authorities say the gun was stolen from the truck sometime after midnight Monday.

Sifford said there is no indication that Maness was being bullied or had threatened anyone else, and it’s not clear why he had the gun at school.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools spokeswoman Rita Foil said a Connect-ED message was sent to East Rowan parents Wednesday by Principal Tonya German. The message read: “Law enforcement led an investigation that discovered a student brought a weapon to school. The incident was handled quickly and without incident. Law enforcement assessed the situation and determined that a lockdown was not necessary. We are continuing to cooperate with law enforcement on this investigation.

“The district’s Code of Conduct is enforced when handling incidents of this nature. The safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and we will continue to take all necessary measures in assuring that our school remains safe.
The investigation is ongoing, law enforcement officials said.


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