Students and staff at C.D. Hylton High School, in Woodbridge, Virginia, were released Tuesday afternoon after being kept in the school for hours after a gun went off in a classroom around noon.
Prince William County Police Chief Barry Barnard said at a 4:45 p.m. news conference that no one was injured when the gun was fired. Police originally said the incident was an accident, but Barnard later said “we’re not certain” of that.
The school resource officer found and detained the student involved. Police said the 16-year-old male student has been charged with possession of a firearm on school property.
According to a police press release, the student had been showing off the gun to other students in the classroom when the gun went off. That student was removed from the classroom and questioned, but initially he and other members of the class would not say what had happened.
At the time of the news conference, Barnard said the gun hadn’t been found yet. Police found the gun hidden inside a room nearby the classroom a little after 5 p.m.
Police said school staff found a trash receptacle that had “damage consistent with a bullet striking it.” Bullet fragments were found in the ceiling; the round was thought to have ricocheted.
At the news conference, parents asked why they weren’t notified of the incident until after 2 p.m.; Barnard had no answer.
According to the school’s website, all afternoon and evening events have been canceled, and none of its teams’ away games that evening were held.
The school is at 14051 Spriggs Rd.