Father of student who brought gun to Cherokee Elementary School arrested

Sheriff Eric Balentine told WAFF 48 News that the student self reported the gun in his backpack to his teacher.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 1:01 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:58 PM CDT
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CHEROKEE, Ala. (WAFF) - The father of second-grader at Cherokee Elementary School was arrested this afternoon after a firearm was found in his son’s backpack on Thursday morning.

Randy Keller, 38 was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Keller was released on bond from the Colbert County Jail.

Sheriff Eric Balentine told WAFF 48 News that the student self reported the gun in his backpack to his teacher.

The Superintendent of Colbert County Schools Chris Hand said the gun and the student were taken into custody just in time. Superintendent Hand said that a teacher was first made aware of the gun and that teacher hurriedly told the school resource officer and the principal at the elementary school.

“Once that was identified by the teacher, immediately we had our SRO involved and the principal as well,” Superintendent Hand said. “Our head of security at the central office was dispatched there. We started an investigation into why the firearm was there and how it got there. It took some time. Of course we always want to make sure that we are uncovering all the details.”

Then, both the elementary and high schools were placed under a heightened awareness status while the school resource officer investigated. The student and weapon were removed from school and taken into custody. Superintendent Chris Hand said thankfully the firearm never really found its way out of the student’s backpack.

“At the start of the school day today a firearm was found in an elementary student’s backpack,” Superintendent Hand said. The student did not have the fire arm in their possession necessarily. It was in their bag. So it was never in a situation where it was taken out or directed at another student or employee.”

The schools resumed normal operations after the investigation was completed.

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