Felony charge for girl, 13, who pointed finger-guns at other students, officials say

A 13-year-old Kansas student was arrested and charged with a felony after police say she made a gunlike hand gesture at multiple students.

The girl, who attended Westridge Middle School in Overland Park, Kansas, made the gesture at four of her peers and then toward herself on Sept. 18, after being asked which five people she would kill in her class, according to Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez. He said the context of this conversation was unclear.

The student, who was unidentified due to privacy laws, was arrested and charged Sept. 19 with a felony for threatening a mass shooting, a spokesperson for the Johnson County District Attorney's Office told USA TODAY.

"Overnight, some of those students contacted the school administration and expressed their fear of this individual, that based on this incident, they were in genuine fear of this individual," Donchez said in an interview with USA TODAY.

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The school conducted an investigation Sept. 19 in which they interviewed the individual and other students. They proceeded to contact the school resource officer assigned to the campus, who conducted his own investigation.

Donchez told USA TODAY that there were previous encounters involving the student that resulted in classmates being "fearful" of her. That investigation resulted in the arrest of the student, where she was transported to juvenile detention.

Dave Smith, a spokesman with the Shawnee Mission School District, told KSHB-TV that her arrest "was a municipal police department decision," and that the school district played no role in her arrest.

She is expected to appear in the District Court of Johnson County as a juvenile Tuesday.

This isn't the first time this year a gunlike hand gesture has been in the news. In August, a Pennsylvania man convicted of disorderly conduct for making a shooting gesture with his hand lost an appeal to overturn the ruling.

Westridge Middle School did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.

Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kansas middle school girl charged with felony after making finger-guns


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