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Man with BB gun outside school did not violate city firearms laws

February 07, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — A Hagerstown man who was charged with drug violations after he was spotted carrying what turned out to be a BB gun in front of Winter Street Elementary School on Wednesday didn’t break any city firearms laws, according to Hagerstown police.

After he was stopped by police, Santez M. Thomas, 18, of 67 Elizabeth St., was charged with having a prescription with a removed label and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to Washington County District Court records.

Hagerstown Police Lt. Tom Langston said Thursday that Thomas wasn’t charged with a firearms violation, in part, because a BB gun isn’t a firearm.

“He was carrying the BB gun in accordance with the local ordinance,” Langston said.

A Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy sitting at a traffic light spotted a masked man carrying what appeared to be a hunting rifle or shotgun in front of the school at about 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, according to the charging summary obtained Thursday from Washington County District Court. The deputy got out of the car, pulled his weapon and ordered the man to drop the gun.

Other units from the sheriff’s office, Hagerstown Police Department and Maryland State Police were called to assist at the scene.

Police allege they searched Thomas and found an unlabeled prescription bottle that contained unknown white pills and a “green vegetable-like matter.”

An investigation determined the pills were manufactured to treat epilepsy, and the vegetable matter turned out to be stems and seeds left over from marijuana, according to documents.

Officers stated in the charging summary they also found BBs in a backpack that Thomas as carrying. The pills, gun and BBs were confiscated as evidence, the documents said.

Hagerstown Police Lt. Paul Kifer said Wednesday at the scene that Thomas might have been wearing the mask to protect his face from the cold.

Thomas was released on his own recognizance, a District Court clerk said.

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