Tyrone Smith, now 18, told police he brought two pellet guns to Waukesha South High School on Dec. 2 to scare the students who picked on him – or might pick on him in the future – and that “other kids would hear about this and be scared,” according to a criminal complaint filed Monday and obtained by FOX6 Milwaukee.
Smith’s actions frightened his fellow students along with school officials, who placed the building on lockdown in what Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly later described as a “terrifying day.”
The exact circumstances that led to the gun incident were disputed, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, citing the complaint. A 17-year-old boy told police he had asked Smith about his plans for his 18th birthday when he became angry. Smith said his friend had thrown his cellphone across the room and that he was tired of being picked on.
The incident unfolded at about 10:15 a.m. after a student reported to school officials that a male student brought a handgun to the school, located roughly 20 miles west of Milwaukee, police said.
The school resource officer responded to the classroom to help get students to safety. But as tensions escalated, Waukesha Police Officer Brady Esser, an 11-year veteran, entered the room and told Smith: “I need you to take your hands out of your pockets very slowly with nothing in your hands, OK man?”
But Smith, who wasn’t complying with police, quickly took his hands out of his sweatshirt pocket still holding the gun, the complaint said. Esser fired three shots, striking Smith once in the leg and twice in the arm. The complaint said Smith pointed the gun, which was later identified as a pellet gun, at officers and Esser had feared for his life.
Smith made his initial court appearance on Monday. He was charged as an adult with second-degree recklessly endangering safety, obstructing an officer, disorderly conduct and dangerous weapons on school premises.
Smith told police “he was sorry, and he knew it was wrong to bring a gun to school and he would not do it again,” the complaint said.
He was released on a $15,000 signature bond and was ordered to have no contact with any Waukesha South students, the Journal Sentinel reported.
He is due back in court Dec. 17. If convicted, he could serve 10 years in prison and face up to $25,000 in fines, according to the paper.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.