Man charged for having guns near middle school

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Chief says unclear if teen suspect had ill intent

By Meaghan Downs

A 19-year-old Lawrenceburg man was arrested by city police Monday morning after a middle school staff member spotted him carrying a shotgun while crossing Anderson County Middle School property.
William Whetzel, 19, 1042 Dan Drive was arrested and charged with one count of carrying a concealed deadly weapon and two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon on school property.
A middle school staff member noticed Whetzel, who was openly carrying a shotgun in a soft case as well as a gasoline can, crossing the middle school property at about 8 a.m. Monday, according to City Police Chief Chris Atkins.
Whetzel also had a pistol tucked into his jacket, Atkins said.
The staff member immediately notified school resource officer Joe Saunier, who arrested Whetzel on Saffell Street and Whetzel was taken to the Shelby County Detention Center.
Whetzel was not on Saffell Street Elementary property, Atkins said.
Atkins said he could not confirm if Whetzel had any intention of doing anybody any harm until further investigation.
It appeared that Whetzel did not have motivations to harm students or residents, Atkins said Monday.
Superintendent Sheila Mitchell said a One Call notification went out to parents to inform them of the morning incident.
“A staff member saw a suspicious person hurriedly passing through Anderson County Middle School grounds this morning after school was in session and the building was secure,” Mitchell said in an e-mailed statement. “The staff member immediately alerted the school resource officer who along with local law enforcement apprehended the person quickly off school property. Local law enforcement is currently investigating. Anderson County staff and local law enforcement responded quickly. Student and staff safety continues to be our top priority.”