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.
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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.