A Maryland high school student was apprehended by police on February 15, a day after the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, for carrying a loaded handgun onto school premises. He told police he had virtuous reasons for carrying the firearm.
The student, Alwin Chen, is a senior at Clarksburg High School. Court filings show that he routinely brought a Glock to school in a backpack or under his shirt. In a journal obtained by authorities, Chen had shared concerns about mental health issues.
In the new filings, prosecutors homed in on a journal they said Chen kept, noting entries from last spring when he wrote of feeling lonely and worthless. “I might start doing some vigilante operations,” he wrote on May 1, 2017, the court filings state. “I don’t plan on killing people, but I’m surely going to hit evil people.” (Washington Post)
His defense team said this context proves he is not a threat. He was just trying to protect himself and other students.
“The prosecutors’ own filing demonstrates he is not a risk to anyone else,” according to lawyer David Felsen. “Their allegation as to motive for bringing the gun to school for protection, given the circumstances in the country, is not a surprise.”
Yet, that's not the story some of his fellow classmates told authorities. Chen was "always talking about bringing guns to school and saying how he would kill anyone,” one student said.
Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Frank Lazzaro has told the judge that Chen should remain jailed during the trial.
Seventeen people died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when 17-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire on Valentine's Day. President Trump and Congress are debating whether the best way to respond is through gun control legislation or arming teachers in schools.