DELTONA -- The Volusia County Sheriff's Office arrested two Deltona High School students late Thursday afternoon after a school administrator found a loaded gun in one of the student's backpack. A campus advisor was the first to spot the suspicious activity, at first thinking that he might have witnessed a drug transaction.
Because of his suspicious behavior, 16-year-old Erick Graham was escorted to the dean's office, Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said. "But instead of drugs, a search of Graham's backpack turned up a loaded .25-caliber handgun tucked in a sock. The gun had one bullet in the magazine."
The Sheriff's Office's school resource deputy assigned to the school was called in to investigate, Davidson said.
"Upon questioning by the deputy, Graham initially denied knowing anything about the gun or how it ended up in his backpack," Davidson said.
But during the investigation, a second student -- 17-year-old Curtis Peterson -- came forward and told the deputy that the gun was his and that he had bought it in Sanford for protection from some people in his neighborhood who he claimed had been threatening him, the Sheriff's spokesman said.
According to the investigation, the two teens had spent the night together on Wednesday at Graham's house. Peterson initially claimed that during the sleepover, he brought the gun with him and placed it in Graham's backpack without Graham's knowledge. However, that didn't turn out to be true, Davidson said, as another student said he saw Peterson pull out the gun in front of Graham while at school on Thursday and then put it in Graham's backpack.
"Both sdefendants eventually admitted that's what happened, " Davidson said, adding they were both charged with possession of a firearm on a school campus and transported to the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center.