Dillon Selby had completed the Eddie Eagle course taught by School Resource Officer Jay Lawson.
After finding the weapon on the playground, he followed his instincts gained through the program and warned other students to stay away from it as he alerted faculty of the discovery.
Bob Gault, media relations coordinator for Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, said Selby followed his teaching in 1-2-3 fashion, just as he had been instructed during the National Rifle Association-sponsored program.
Sheriff Jim Ruth was on hand Monday during the school’s awards night and presented Selby with a certificate of recognition for his actions.
Ruth pointed out the “situation could have been tragic if a younger student had found the gun or mistaken it for a toy.”
Deputy Lawson was not able to attend the awards ceremony, but he is also expected to be commended for his efforts.
Dray Crumley of Bradley County Fire Rescue came forward Sunday after learning from a Cleveland Daily Banner news article that a small .22 caliber weapon had been found on the playground by Selby.
Bradley County Fire Chief Dewey Woody said Crumley approached him and said he thought the weapon could be his and Woody advised him to call the sheriff’s office which he did.
“There was no intent to carry the gun on the playground,” Crumley explained early today. “It was late and I stopped by the school to exercise.”
Typically, when Crumley visits the school to have lunch with his niece, he said he takes the weapon — which he carries lawfully as a business owner — out of his pocket and leaves in his vehicle.
“It was after school hours and late, and I forgot it was in my pocket,” Crumley said.
According to Tennessee Code Annotated, possession of a firearm on school property is an offense only if there is intent to carry it on- site. Crumley’s incident was not intended, the county fireman explained.
TCA Code 39-17-1309 (B) (b) (1) cites, “It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any firearm, explosive, explosive weapon, bowie knife, hawk bill knife, ice pick, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, blackjack, knuckles or any other weapon of like kind, not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, used or operated by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution.”
TCA 39-17-1309 (c) (1) adds, “It is not an offense under this subsection (c) for a nonstudent adult to possess a firearm, if the firearm is contained within a private vehicle operated by the adult and is not handled by the adult, or by any other person acting with the expressed or implied consent of the adult, while the vehicle is on school property.”
“I am thankful deputy Lawson had provided the Eddie Eagle program to the kids at the school,” Crumley said.
No charges are expected to be filed, according to Gault after the investigation was completed.
Woody said Crumley was off-duty and does not carry the weapon when working and he expected no disciplinary action.