MIDDLESEX COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A student was arrested at Middlesex High School Friday when weapons and ammunition were found in his vehicle, during a routine police search.
According to the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement regularly sweep local schools for drugs and weapons. So, on Friday, the sheriff’s office, along with the Newport News Police Department and K9 units with the Tri River Drug Task Force searched the high school in Saluda, as well as St. Clare Walker Middle School in Locust Hill.
At Middlesex High, a K9 unit alerted on 18-year-old Austin Martin’s vehicle. Sheriff’s detectives looked inside and recovered four loaded firearms, two of which were handguns, several knives and more than 600 rounds of ammunition.
10 On Your Side talked with Middlesex County Sheriff David Bushey, who said he was shocked by the discovery. He said during his time in Middlesex County, his deputies have never confiscated anything similar from a student.
“I still can’t understand how a drug dog got lucky,” Sheriff Bushey said. “It is a very good dog. Something made it react.”
Sheriff Bushey wouldn’t say why Martin had all the weapons in his car. He wold only say the incident is under investigation. Major M.E. Sampson with the sheriff’s office said investigators believe Martin posed no threat to the student body.
Middlesex County Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor also said school administrators don’t believe there was any threat involved with the situation: “We haven’t uncovered anything that would reveal a plot or any kind of ill-intention or any kind of malice,” he said.
10 On Your Side asked Sheriff Bushey what he thought would have happened, had the K9 unit not found the weapons.
“That’s the million dollar question,” Bushey replied. “I mean, would he come back and say, ‘Oh, they didn’t find it before.’ We don’t know.”
Devante Robertson, who graduated from Middlesex High last year, said he knows Martin well. He said he thinks Martin was planning to go shooting with his dad after school, something he said his friend does all the time.
“I don’t think he meant to or was planning to hurt anybody. I really don’t think he would have,” Robertson said.
Martin was arrested at school and charged with possession of firearms on school property, which is a felony. He was taken before a magistrate on Friday and released on a $1,500 bond.
Martin was also expelled from school and is not allowed back on school property.
Superintendent Taylor said typically in cases involving a weapon at school, the principal suspends the student and makes a recommendation for the student’s future. Then the superintendent makes the final decision. As of now, no final decision has been made.
Martin is a resident of the Deltaville section of Middlesex County, according to Sampson. He was arraigned in the General District Court of Middlesex County Monday morning.