High School Student Arrested and Expelled for Accidentally Having Unloaded Gun in Truck

High school senior and honor student David “Cole” Withrow was arrested Monday and charged with a felony for having an unloaded shotgun in his vehicle on school property. The Eagle Scout had been skeet shooting over the weekend and accidentally left the gun in his truck. He called his mother as soon as he remembered but school officials overheard the conversation, which led to his arrest and expulsion.


However, ABC11 learned that in recent years two school officials had brought loaded guns onto school property but were not charged with felonies.

An assistant principal at Cole’s school was suspended for three days, but never criminally charged. She still works in the same position at the school.

“I think it’s wrong, if an assistant principal can bring a loaded handgun and doesn’t get punished? No, unacceptable,” parent Nancy Terry said.

A teacher at another high school in the school district was cited and resigned.

Students and members of the local community are outraged by the school’s response. Cole was just a couple weeks away from graduating. He was accepted at two local colleges and awarded a scholarship to one. Now, his future is uncertain.

Update:  He will be allowed to graduate…but…


A Princeton High School senior who says he inadvertently brought an unloaded shotgun onto school property will be allowed to graduate, an attorney for Johnston County Schools said Thursday. […]

Boykin said Winthrow’s family is still not satisfied. The provisions of his punishment require Winthrow – an honors student and Eagle Scout – to attend an alternative school and he will not be allowed to walk with his graduating class.

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