A man carrying a plank of wood with the words “High Powered Rifle” written across it entered an elementary school in rural Virginia that bears the same name as the school in Newtown, Conn., the site of last Friday’s mass shooting.
Christopher Garret Johnson, 33, was arrested on Wednesday after entering Sandy Hook Elementary School in carrying a 4-foot-long piece of wood with the rifle phrase scrawled across it. He was apparently trying to make a statement about lax security in schools and the second amendment.
Johnson did not come into contact with any students and no one was injured in the incident.
Johnson walked through an unlocked front door of the school just before noon. He was met by school officials and shortly after a school resource officer took him into custody. He was later arrested by police. He faces charges of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, and remained in jail without bond. Johnson will undergo a psychiatric evaluation before he is released.
“He made general statements about school safety and safety awareness. But the reality is it was disruptive and it instilled fear in the staff,” a Shenandoah County police officer told WRC-TV. “Regardless of what his motivation was and what his ideas were, it was inappropriate at best. Quite frankly, it was criminal in my opinion.”
Johnson’s stunt came just five days after 20-year-old Adam Lanza barged into the Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut with an assault rifle and fatally shot 20 children and six adults before killing himself.
The Newtown massacre has ignited fierce gun-control debates across the nation. Many are calling for reinstatement the 1990s ban on assault weapons, which would likely include high-powered rifles.
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