BY JENNIFER CABRERA
NEWBERRY, Fla. – Dennis L. Hale, 16, was charged with possession of a firearm on school grounds, theft of a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a minor yesterday after the School Resource Deputy (SRD) at Newberry High School reportedly found a stolen firearm in his backpack.
According to Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, school staff notified the SRD that Hale had checked in late and possibly smelled strongly of marijuana. The SRD escorted him to the dean’s office, where the dean informed Hale that she was going to search his belongings based on the marijuana odor, and Hale reportedly said that there was something in his backpack that he shouldn’t have. When asked what that meant, he reportedly said he had a gun, and a loaded .22 caliber handgun was reportedly found in his backpack.
Hale reportedly said he had been given the gun by a friend and had put it in his backpack, then forgotten to take it out; he said he had no intentions of using it at school. The serial number matched a gun that was reported stolen in Alachua County in 2022.
Newberry High School sent out a notification to parents about the incident, saying there was no evidence that the student had shown the gun to other students or removed it from the backpack. The message said that Hale “faces serious consequences from both the school and law enforcement” and asked parents to remind students that no weapons, including pellet or “toy” guns, are permitted on campus.
Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.