Riverdale High School student arrested for having gun in car on campus

Published: January 20, 2022 2:54 PM EST
Updated: January 20, 2022 10:07 PM EST

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a student of Riverdale High School for having a gun in his car on campus.

Early Thursday morning, a student alerted a teacher to a video of another student on Instagram holding a firearm.

The School Resource Officer learned the firearm belonged to another student.

After a search of that 17-year-old Alton Smith’s car, deputies found a loaded 9mm handgun, and he was arrested.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said, “I need parents… Take the time and sit your children down. Your child needs to know that their actions can result in severe consequences.”

The sheriff relayed a plea for parents to talk with their kids.

Joanna Bustamante is a parent and has that conversation often.

“I always tell her, you know, make sure if you hear something on Instagram or whatever, make sure you report it to the principal, to the police. Let me know. I’ll contact the police. Just because there is craziness,” said Bustamante.

You don’t often get the perspective from students who experience this kind of situation.

Tanner Cooper is a local student. He said, “you see it all the time on social media, like other schools, other states. It’s honestly not even surprising anymore what kids do.”

Cooper spent three years at Riverdale before switching to online classes. He remembers when a classmate brought a weapon to his middle school.

“There was no shooting or anything like that. Obviously, they found the gun before, just like this situation. They did lock it down. I wasn’t terrified or anything like that,” said Cooper.

He also agrees that to prevent situations like this. Parents must sit down and talk with their kids. Something he says he’s thankful he experienced growing up.

“Oh, for sure. My parents raised me the right way,” said Cooper.

Investigators say Smith told them he bought the gun and has owned it for several years. He wouldn’t tell them where or who he got it from.

Smith faces charges for possessing a firearm on school grounds and being a minor in possession of a firearm.

Sheriff Carmine Marceno reminded that “See it, Say it” works, and if any student or parent sees something suspicious, report it.

He held a news conference on the arrest. You can watch again in the player below or click here.