Beddingfield teacher, student face gun charges

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Authorities say a teacher who admitted to having a gun in his car was caught with marijuana and deputies found an air rifle in a student’s vehicle during separate incidents Friday at Beddingfield High School.

Beddingfield teacher Jonathan Daniel West told the school resource officer shortly before dismissal that his gun had been stolen from his car, according to Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Staff Wanda Samuel.

“Mr. West reported that his vehicle was locked but his window was left partially down,” Samuel said in a news release. “He reported that his weapon was stolen from underneath the car seat.”

West “attempted to dispose of drug paraphernalia and marijuana” during an interview with sheriff’s detectives, Samuel wrote.

Deputies charged West with a felony count of having a gun on educational property and misdemeanor counts of carrying a concealed gun, possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed under a $10,000 secured bond.

West was hired in August 2017 as a lateral entry career and technical education teacher at Beddingfield and taught automotive technology, according to a Wilson County Schools personnel report published in The Wilson Times.

The school district is investigating the incident, Wilson County Schools spokeswoman Amber Lynch said.

“Mr. West is currently employed by Wilson County Schools, however, an investigation is underway regarding the situation,” Lynch wrote in a text message. “Because this is a personnel matter, I cannot provide any further information at this time.”

In a separate incident, 16-year-old Montravius Jah’Quelle Harris of El Ramey Circle was arrested after authorities found an air rifle in the trunk of his car around 2:15 p.m., Samuel said. Someone had told the principal that Harris had a weapon in his car.

Harris was charged with possession of a weapon on a school campus and released to the custody of his parents.

Under North Carolina law, knowingly possessing or carrying any gun, rifle, pistol or other firearm on school property is a Class I felony resulting in a presumptive penalty of 4-6 months of community punishment.

Possession of less-lethal weapons, including knives, daggers, stun guns, air rifles and air pistols, is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor.