WASHINGTON — A Montgomery County, Maryland teenager charged with bringing a loaded gun to school multiple times is expected to plead guilty.
The defense team for 18-year-old Alwin Chen confirmed he has agreed to a plea deal on one of the three charges he was facing.
Chen is expected to enter a guilty plea to one count of carrying a handgun on public school property, which carries a sentence ranging from 90 days to three years, said lawyers Jill Michaels and David Felsen.
Court documents say Chen told investigators he feared for his safety, and the safety of his classmates —so he brought a loaded gun to Clarksburg High School and wore body armor on a daily basis for two months.
He’s scheduled to enter his plea to a judge April 24.
Chen was arrested a day after the Feb. 14 mass school shooting that left 17 dead in Parkland, Florida. At a bond hearing later that month, Montgomery County prosecutors told the judge that Chen posed a risk due to “a list of grievances” that had been found in his journal.
Defense attorneys argued that “there is no list of grievances” and cited a Feb. 20 Montgomery County police statement that said the journal contained “no wording regarding any threat nor any expression of wanting to cause harm to anyone at the school in this journal.” (That police statement was also cited in a Feb. 20 letter to Clarksburg parents.)
Chen reportedly told police that he brought the weapon to school to protect himself from a mass shooting similar to the one in Florida.
Prosecutors, however, pointed out that “the defendant brought a loaded, handmade handgun to school on many occasions — likely every day — from December 2017 throughout February 2018.”
They also pointed out that a student had told police that Chen had worn body armor to school “sometimes.”
WTOP’s Jack Pointer contributed to this report.
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