The 14-year-old boy accused of killing a 16-year-old in a fight last weekend had showed off a handgun on a school bus and brought it into the school during the spring, a Buffalo School Board member and a police official told The Buffalo News.
School authorities tried to suspend the boy, the police source said, but when his parents objected at a hearing and said he did not have access to a handgun, a school administrator allowed him to continue at the school.
Police were not notified of the gun incident in April involving Myles D. Taylor III until after the shooting death of Kelmyne Jones Jr. a week ago Saturday, the police source said.
The school district, however, said that a thorough investigation was completed, but no gun was discovered and police were, in fact, notified of the situation.
But that wasn’t the understanding of one of Buffalo’s School Board members.
“He brought the gun on the bus and was showing it to other students and then took it into school,” School Board member Carl Paladino said of Taylor. “This report is on a school district computer but only certain people had access to it.”
Paladino said he received the information about Taylor from a school district employee but would not identify the individual.
A police official confirmed that homicide investigators also have been told that Taylor displayed a gun on the bus and brought it into school. Investigators have received three separate reports of Taylor bringing the gun into the school, the police source said. The school is believed to be Waterfront Elementary School, the source added.
“You’d think that the school would have notified us,” the police official said. “There was a suspension hearing, and the parents said their son did not have access to a gun. Police are now looking into the allegation.”
When contacted by The Buffalo News on Saturday, the district released a statement with this account of what happened on April 10:
A teacher at Waterfront overheard students talking about a gun on a bus. Administrators and counselors conducted a thorough investigation and alerted police.
“Student reports varied by date as to when they allegedly saw the gun and multiple students interviewed reported no firearm,” the district statement read.
School officials searched the student, his locker, and the lockers of 10 other students at Waterfront. A bus video also was checked, but there was no evidence of a gun, the district said.
“To the fullest extent of his abilities and based on the allegations, the school principal pursued a formal district hearing in which all evidence was presented,” the statement from the district said.
“Based on the outcome, with no evidence whatsoever of a weapon, the student was allowed to return to school in accordance with education law.”
Efforts to reach the suspect’s family members have been unsuccessful.
Paladino said that he was told the district decided not to take further action because it lacked evidence.
“This is a perfect example of violence in the schools and how the policy in the district is to handle it without calling in police,” Paladino said.
If the district had called in the proper authorities, “this homicide might have not happened,” Paladino said.
“This is illustrative of what happens when the school district is covering up violence and not sending it through the system as it should have done. If the police were allowed to investigate, they might have taken the gun away from the kid, and he would have been placed in the juvenile justice system. He was a threat to other students.”
Taylor, who was arrested late Wednesday, was charged as an adult with second-degree murder in the shooting death during a street fight on Northland Avenue on July 6.
Taylor is accused of getting a handgun hidden beneath a bush on the 200 block of Northland and shooting Jones, who was fighting another youth.
Police have not said whether a handgun was recovered.