Teen posted video of self with automatic handgun in St. Paul charter school, charges say

  • In US
  • 2023-02-03 01:35:00Z
  • By Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

An Instagram post of two 16-year-old students flashing handguns at their St. Paul charter school last month has led to charges against one of the teens.

According to a juvenile petition filed Thursday against the St. Paul teen, on Jan. 26 he posted a video on Instagram of him in a bathroom at Career Pathways holding a black handgun equipped with an extended magazine and an auto sear, also known as a "switch," which turns a firearm into a fully automatic weapon.

Another Career Pathways student is in the video displaying a handgun equipped with an extended magazine. He has not been charged, according to the Ramsey County attorney's office.

The next day, the Ramsey County sheriff's office opened an investigation into juveniles possessing firearms at Career Pathways, which serves students in grades six through 12 at 1355 W. Pierce Butler Route in the city's Hamline-Midway neighborhood.

An investigator went through the boy's posts on his Instagram and Snapchat accounts.

A Jan. 24 Instagram story video showed him holding a black handgun equipped with an auto sear switch and extended magazine, the petition said. That same day, he posted a photo of himself holding the same firearm on his Snapchat account.

The Jan. 26 Instagram post included a caption: "'Playing crazy buttons in school won't go out like tyjaunn," the petition states. "Crazy buttons" is slang for firearms with fully automatic switches, according to authorities.

Later that day, the teen posted a video on his Instagram story showing himself carrying the handgun in a gray backpack in the parking lot of his apartment in St. Paul.

An investigator obtained a search warrant and deputies apprehended the teen as he was getting off a school bus near his apartment. He was wearing the same backpack he had on in his Instagram post several days earlier.

Deputies searched the backpack and found the black handgun equipped with an auto-sear switch and an extended magazine. The handgun was loaded and had a live round in the chamber. It did not have a serial number.

The teen was arrested and agreed to speak with deputies. He said he carried the gun for protection.

Deputies showed the Jan. 26 Instagram story video to Career Pathways administrators, one of whom confirmed the video of the two students was shot in a school bathroom.

The teen has been charged with one count each of possession of a dangerous weapon on school property and possession of ammo/pistol/assault weapon-under age 18.

Career Pathways executive director Liz Lonetti declined to comment Thursday on the charges.

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