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15-Year-Old Faces Charges Over a .40-Caliber Gun at Indian Trails Middle School Campus

| March 29, 2011

The .40-caliber Springfield similar to the one a student had shown at the Indian Trails Sports Complex.

The .40-caliber Springfield similar to the one a student had shown at the Indian Trails Sports Complex.

Last Tuesday (March 22), Travis Williams, a 15-year-old student, was suspended for disruptive behavior from Indian Trails Middle School. Two days later, he was at the Indians Trails Sports complex in the middle of the afternoon. There, according to a police report, a parent observed him pull out a handgun from his backpack and show it to several other students.

The gun was a .40-caliber Springfield XD with a black finish and a light green handle. It sells for between $450 to $550.

The parent called Vernon Orndorff, the principal at Indian Trails Middle School, shortly after 3 p.m., who then told the Sheriff’s Office’s school resource deputy assigned to Indian Trails, Ralph Lilavois. The parent had told the principal that after showing the gun, Williams had walked to the school gymnasium.

Orndorff and the deputy met Williams near the gymnasium, according to a sheriff’s office account of the incident. Williams was planning to practice basketball with other students, though being suspended, he was barred from the gymnasium even after school. He denied having a gun. He was asked about his book bag. Williams said another student had it. But that student had been signed out early from school that day, and his mother confirmed that the student had been with her since.

Another student told the principal and the deputy that the book bag in question was in the woods, in back of the school. The deputy did not find the gun in the bag. But Williams walked the deputy and the principal into the woods to show them where the gun was. The gun was empty, but there was a loaded magazine next to it, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

It’s not clear from either the sheriff’s case report or the sheriff’s news release on the incident whether the book bag was on school property or beyond it, and the actual boundary line is hazy. The Indian Trails Sports Complex, where Williams is alleged to have shown the weapon, is the property of the city of Palm Coast. Williams was not barred from the complex. But where the gun was at the time it was found is irrelevant, because Williams, according to Orndorff, had brought it on school property on his way from the complex, by way of the small wooden bridge that connects the two properties. “As soon as they were on that bridge, they were on our property,” Orndorff said.

And while school had dismissed for the day, Indian Trails is the location for a well-attended voluntary pre-k program, which turns into an extended-day program for younger children after school. Indian Trails is also the home of the Flagler Youth Orchestra, whose 250-some students rehearse there from 3 to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. The incident involving the gun took place on Tuesday.

Williams reportedly told deputies that he’d had an argument with another student. That student had threatened to fight him at the sports complex on Thursday. He did not tell deputies how he obtained the gun, though the gun has not been reported stolen. Williams was placed under arrest for possession of a concealed weapon and possession of a concealed weapon on a school campus. He was taken to the Flagler County jail for booking.

The sheriff’s report notes that Williams was serving a three-day suspension from school, and that he was due back at school on April 4. In fact, he was serving a 10-day suspension.

Because of the felony charges he now faces, he is not likely to be back at school. “If a student is facing a similar situation,” Orndorff said, “he or she would not be likely to return to their home school.” The student would face two alternatives: attending the district’s alternative school (Pathways Academy) or expulsion.

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38 Responses for “15-Year-Old Faces Charges Over a .40-Caliber Gun at Indian Trails Middle School Campus”

  1. Elana Lee says:

    First and foremost, a child who brings a gun with a loaded magazine “to school” or nearby, is a scream for help. Before all the bashing, calling for him to be locked up and the key thrown away, criticizm of the parents, and so forth, this child needs help. We are all very fortunate that a concerned person was observing, and made the correct call. Now – where are those community resources we so desperately need to help this child?

  2. Jim Guines says:

    Elana, I always did admire your philosophy about facing problems that young people have with a helpng as apposed to a slapping hand. It is easier to punish than to help. Welcome back it has not gotten any better

  3. Rob says:

    I don’t have an extra $400 to buy a firearm and I work everyday making decent money, at least decent by Florida standards.

    Where did he get the money to buy a firearm? Who did he buy it from?

  4. Jamie says:

    BTES right next door, which was still in session, did not have a lock down. What is the policy for lock down?

  5. County Worker says:

    You know better at 15 to not have a handgun in you backpack, there is no excuse for this. I bet you would hear plenty screams for help if he was on the receiving end of the gun.

  6. Allison Burnett Pineda says:

    my child goes to the VPK program there and the staff was NEVER notified about this going on. Very worried!!!

  7. Mariana Jena' says:

    Scared for kids at that school. Our neighbor goes there and is on house arrest. My son has been jumped by 8 students at once,kicked in the head and the kids were only given 1 day iss. Really worried.

  8. w.ryan says:

    I am very worried for this child! First, he is still a minor! Secondly it seems that although this child cooperated with the investigation, he was treated like an adult being taken to an adult lock-up instead of a Juvenile lock-up for processing. With out a doubt this child is reaching out for help. I don’t know if the procedure is correct though. I do know that the right’s of the child may have been compromised under the law. The School Admin has complete priority in asking questions without parental permission which bothers me. As for this child’s intent, we do not know. We are all speculating on other scenario’s and I am satisfied that this episode did get a gun off the street and away from harming others.

  9. Elana Lee says:

    Rob: It’s a safe assumption that he did not go into a legitimate gun store and pay $400 for it. This child fortunately got caught. Surely all of you do not think he is the only child on our school campuses carrying a weapon in his backpack? If you think that, then you are not living in our childrens’ reality.

    Something so bad was going on in this child’s life that he felt he needed a .40 gun. A good mental health counselor can likely begin to uncover some truths in this child’s life before its too late.

  10. Go2GuyFL says:

    So, how many rounds would this 15-yrs old been able to fire before being stopped?

  11. Brad Weir says:

    Maybe all of them.

    Juveniles are only booked through the Flagler County jail. They do not mix with the adult offenders there. After booking they are transported to a juvenile facility or in alot of cases turned over to the parent.

  12. says:

    Go2GuyFL until there were no more rounds left in the mag.

  13. Elana Lee says:

    Go2GuyFL: None. The gun was empty. Unless there was one in the chamber I don’t think it will shoot without the clip. It appears there was some absence of intent since the magazine was not inserted into the gun, and the child took the officials to where it was located in the woods. Again a cry for help. He could have lied, said it was a toy gun and he threw it away, then later could have gone back and retrieved it; but he didn’t, he told the truth and took authorities straight to it.

  14. Liana G says:

    I agree with you Elana and Dr Guines; this kid needs help. I strongly believe that if he intended to use the weapon he would not have taken the time to remove the magazine, and remove the weapon from his backpack and hid it in the woods.

    Obviously, the message about violence and bullying is not reaching all students and we need to step it up before we lose any more. One is already one too many.

  15. John says:

    Well he is 13 not 15
    I know because he is on my basketball team and this all occurred during our practice.

  16. concerned parent says:

    btes let out around the time they were looking for the gun and there were streams of kids walking from there and no lockdown to prevent letting all of those kids not bused because they live too close out into what could have been the line of fire they have drill after drill to prepare but did not feel the need to implement a lockdown when looking for a weapon that had been visually seen by a parent so not the just the rumor of a gun but a confirmed sighting of a gun i am shocked that my child and others were left out to fend for themselves just glad no one was hurt saddened no lockdown seems like it would have been safer for those elementary students and those on campus…………

  17. palmcoaster says:

    This is what happens when thanks to the NRA “guns for all” rules in our country. Guns belong only in the hands of law enforcement, our armed forces and proven responsible citizens sportsmen with a strict background check. Here we have the weapons business benefiting from a very lag law and ruling our representative legislators.

  18. Sandra Stubbs says:

    Travis Williams is not just a student at ITMS he is a human being and should be treated as such. We are focusing on what could’ve happened if this parent had not witnessed him with the gun. I commend her actions for contacting ITMS and bring the situation to the attention of Mr. Orndorff. I have a much greater concern and would like to pose this question to the parents, school officials, community leaders and religious leaders. Do you call the schools when you see school age children and youth roaming around the community during school hours? Have you asked them why they aren’t in school? Have you challenged the hypocritical “ZERO TOLERANCE” Policy? This is the real issue. Children and youth are kicked out of Flagler schools everyday for friviouls things and then they are left unsupervised to take care of themselves. We live in a county with a 14.9% unemployment rate, therefore some parents are forced to make a decision whether to leave a child at home unattended or risk losing their jobs to someone else. I know there are those of you who say they should be kicked out and my question to you is…When was the last time you scored 100% in your decision making? In otherwords, NOT one of us have scored perfection and we never will, yet we enforce a policy on children that we ourselves can’t live up to. I read in an article that Travis was on a 10 day suspension for insubordination…that is absolutely ridiculous. In addition, if he is 15 years old and in the seventh grade then the school system has failed to provide him with an adequate education or at the very least an effective plan to ensure success. We suspend kids for using profanity, yet the very adults who issue the suspensions are probably guilty of using the same language. The children and youth of this community are a reflection of the adults of this community. Therefore, if we are displeased with their actions then we must then begin to examine ourselves. We can continue to blame parents for the decisions of their children however, parents are not the sole influencers of their child’s behavior. Instead of criticizing and judging parents step up and fill in the gap in the lives of our young people. Now, back to Travis I find it interesting that he was suspended for 10 days for insubordination, yet he complied with a more serious offense..hmmmm? Was it really insubordination or is there more to the story? When will we begin to scrutinize the decisions of the adults as closely as we do those of our children?

  19. runningonempty says:

    So Sandra Stubbs, when this disruptive child is in YOUR child’s class and prevents YOUR child, and 22 others from learning, what do you propose should be done? Or maybe you will blame the schools for taking the time out of your sons’ or daughters’ academic learning time to continuously reprimand this child and ensure he is behaving so the rest of the class can learn.

    You say: “the school system has failed to provide him with an adequate education or at the very least an effective plan to ensure success.”

    Really? Because I was under the assumption that teaching manners, and teaching children right from wrong was supposed to be done IN THE HOME. I’m pretty sure I did not learn this from my 7th grade teachers, but from my PARENTS before I entered kindergarten.

  20. Outsider says:

    Elana Lee, I have to disagree with your reasoning; it takes less time to insert the clip into the gun than it does for me to type the last word of this sentence. I think the fact that he brought a gun to school grounds says a lot more about his intent than whether he stored it with the clip in it or out of it.

  21. Stacey M. says:

    Sandra, I agree with many of your points, however I disagree with a few. I would suggest that when uniformed police show up, he was willing to cooperate. We can not blame the teachers and administration for somehow not commanding respect and point to a totally different situation to prove the child has it! Do you slow down when you see a police car on the side of the road?

    I, generally, do not agree with out of school suspension either, however, we can’t allow a student to blatantly disrespect authority. That would lead to total chaos and anarchy in the schools; something we are approaching rapidly anyhow with the general lack of respect found among Americans presently.

    If a child is suspended for making 1 or 2 mistakes, I would generally disagree with that “punishment”. However, typically, a child is suspended after several other incidents and consequences have occurred.

    This situation is another problem with the state mandating high stakes testing and removing local decision making by public schools. Maslov would point to the research that shows that the social emotional needs of individuals must be met before any higher order thinking can occur. Yet, everyday schools around the state, and I would guess around the country as well, ignore this due to the intense pressures from the state. When the state starts looking at suspension rates and attendance, perhaps schools will be forced to deal with this issue. If they were able to redirect the money that is used to deal with FCAT, perhaps there could be a better balance.

    Moral of the story? Change the politics that run our schools.

  22. Stacey M. says:

    BUT, runningonempty, what do we do about children who are not taught that at home? Shrug our shoulders and virtually throw them away? As a society, we should expect that if they are not taught these things at home that they will be taught them in school. I agree with you that this child should not be disturbing the other children’s learning. However, there should be programs in place to teach this child what they need to learn and not 100 hoops to jump through to get him into it. Society demands it. Otherwise, we might as well stimulate the economy by building more prisons now.

  23. flagler1 says:

    Is manners part of the curriculum? Also, a few years ago, I saw Justice Stevens say on a TV interview that he was not 100% sure that compulsory education was even constitutional.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know about all of you bleeding hearts but I am a parent and I admire the administrator who took a proactive approach to keep the kids who come to school for the right reasons safe. The student may need help but putting the rest of the students in harms way is not the way to get it. He doesn’t have a right to infringe on other students right to a safe learning environment regardless of how much help this young man needs.
    The message to the good kids and parents is that you bring a gun on campus you will serve a consequence. Great job school administrators and Sheriff’s department for keeping the good kids safe.

  25. runningonempty says:

    I may be wrong, but I do not see manners on the latest grade level benchmarks.

    Stacey M., you said: “As a society, we should expect that if they are not taught these things at home that they will be taught them in school.” Perhaps this is one more reason why the U.S. is not globally competitive in education. Time spent on the “hidden curriculum” needs to be spent on math and science. Just saying…

  26. Elana Lee says:

    Sandra Stubbs, you hit the nail right on the head! “Zero Tolerance” is simply blind action with zero thinking, zero judgment. If the arrument is that the schools/classrooms are too big for individual decision making, or case-by-case basis circumstances, therefore a one-size fits all policy of zero tolerance must be instituted, then the schools are too big.

    Stacy M; We are already building more prisons. Our country spends more on prisons and incarcerating our citizens than we do on education.

    palmcoaster: So guns belong only in the hands of law enforcement, the armed forces, and sportsmen/hunters with clean background checks? Not to worry, we are getting there, minus the sportsmen/hunters. And all the rest of us will board the train with our Civil Rights, NRA and ACLU cards tucked gently away.

  27. Joe A. says:

    Dont blame the NRA because guns get into the hands of children. Guns ownership is a right every law abiding citizen enjoys. Not a child.

    Palm Coaster get your facts straight before you make a statement. You can applaud yourself for your valiant effort to show you know something, but speaking inaccurately just makes you look ignorant.

  28. Sandra Stubbs says:

    Stacey M. and Elana thank you for your comments and I won’t bother to address runningonempty. I posted my beliefs and stated my name because I stand firm on the comments I made.

  29. Ken Dodge says:

    palmcoaster says:
    “This is what happens when thanks to the NRA “guns for all” rules in our country.”

    Don’t thank the NRA; thank the 2nd Amendment. Don’t like it? Repeal it.

  30. Stacey M. says:

    runningonempty, you are wrong. We test all our students and hold them against the global economy, which most countries do NOT do. If we are going to do that, then we must address the issues that affect kids learning of math and science.

    Another reason why we are not competitive with other countries is because of the high percentage of children living in poverty in this country. Not to mention that if we compare political structure of those countries. So, you can’t have it both ways, either we are more socialist or we aren’t. If you don’t believe that every child will be a benefit to society someday if we, as a society, take the time to support and educate that child, then don’t whine about how we don’t compete globally.

  31. Sure, blame the system.... says:

    Sandra Stubbs, why is it that if a child does not do well in school that you want to say the school system failed? Is there no one else who is accountable for the student? Parents? Or even the student himself? I guess it’s just easier to blame “the system.”

  32. w.ryan says:

    My child has been a victim of this “Zero Tolerance” policy devastating our young men. If “respect” is what a ten day suspension is for, then shame on the School Admin. If my wife and I left it to the school Officials, our child would be at pathways being dumbed down and being pushed further down the pathway to jail. I have dealt with the school Administrator from BTMS, ITMS and FPC. My child is not a troubled child and he is not violent so don’t go there! From Deps who don’t know the law ( Being overheard uttering the word period(ovulation) in a side conversation is not sexual abuse and doesn’t warrant being arrested and taken to Juvenile lockup) to being accused of writing statements on a test paper. Although it was proven he didn’t write them he was still suspended for 3 days. “He will still face the suspension because he should have been aware.” I had also represented another child at a so called meeting that attended ITMS. Although he was accidentally pushed into a wall and lost his balance he was being held accountable for the damage and forced to fix a hole in the wall he fell into. A solution was found without harm to the child because the ITMS argument was baseless. We have forgotten that we had a lot more latitude when we were children than children today. Most of my childs dilemma was his ID. He constantly misplaced or lost it. His disorganization was off the scale and although this was sited officially he was constantly accosted and punished until we pulled him from the hands of fools. If we had to punish him the way they wanted to for forgetting to throw out the trash, we would be held for child abuse. If only the attention was placed on his academic. These children have no rights and no due process thus they and their parents are being victims of the system (biggest bully in the room). As for the legalese regarding this child’s action, this child was not apprised of his rights and these items were not on his person. His parent(s) don’t have to be consulted. Allegedly he was smart enough to get rid of the items but not smart enough to keep quite and execute his rights. This will be addressed in court. A ten day Suspension precludes this child’s idol mind. Elana Lee states my point perfectly. Zero Tolerance equals “simply blind action with zero thinking” I agree fully with Sandra Stubbs.


    Just stop it! the kid is a future ganster ! keep him as fair away from my kids as possible…There should never have been ANY gun on him and on school property fake…real it doesn’t make any difference and yes he sure does need help…hope he gets it…far away from our schools and kids !

  34. Anonymous says:

    SO.. how is the student who can not follow simple rules like wear your ID going to function inthe real world? Where will you go to complain when he is fired for being late to work and not wearing his ID or uniform? What will you do if he does not complete his work- SHould he still get paid?

  35. w.ryan says:

    Anonymous, I probably know who you are! That’s fine! But why would you hamper a child’s eduction for such a meaningless point especially if he has an organizational issue which was diagnosed and documented to the very school personnel that enforce the rules in the first place. When was the last time you got fired for forgetting something that frivolous. Anonymous…Get Real!!! School is for education, not for suspension or detention and not for adults who exact revenge because they now have the upper hand in contrast from when they were students. If a child has physical impairments or mental impairment; which is the case, why must that child be victimized by rules that serve little purpose. Zero tolerance is a cop out! Furthermore, we can live with adults who break big rules known as LAWS… We haven’t impeached Presidents that lie. We elect them as Governor. We can give Bankers and Investment Brokers who commit massive crimes against a nation and that devastate economies world wide a pass. I know you drive so I don’t suppose you drive exactly to the speed limit each and every moment you put you foot on the gas pedal. I suggest you get some common sense, get a conscience and get real!!!

  36. Go2GuyFL says:

    “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.” – Adolph Hitler

  37. annoyed says:

    so…i have read some valid points…and a bunch of BS…this student’s suspension and him carry a gun, whether on school property or not, are two separate issues. Don’t try to tell me that at 15 (or 13) that he doesn’t know right from wrong. All of you that are defending this student, I have one question for you….would you be defending him so rigorously if he had taken that same gun to school and starter shooting your children??? I don’t think so, you would be bitching about school officials not being severe enough with punishments in order to prevent such an incident.
    Facts are facts: at 15, he knew better than to have a gun on him. He deserves whatever punishment he gets.

  38. Go2GuyFL says:

    Not only should the child serve the maximum penalties, so should the parent(s). You also raise my earlier concern who’d have been to stop this child from emptying the magazine?

    We put armed marshals on airplanes while leaving our children vulnerable to attacks both from outsiders as well as within. How more cases do we need to witness, like the recent 13 shot in another school?

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