Winter Haven High School student arrested after having loaded gun in backpack, officers say

Student refused to have backpack searched

DeShawn Lee Williams

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – A high school student in Polk County was arrested after authorities found a loaded handgun in his backpack.

According to the Winter Haven Police Department, while classes were changing Friday, a teacher at Winter Haven High School smelled marijuana on 18-year-old DeShawn Lee Williams.

The teacher then sent a message to the school administration and an assistant principal came to assist.

“The assistant principal asked Williams to allow his backpack to be searched,” officers said. “Williams refused and actively resisted causing both Williams and the assistant principal to fall to the floor.”

The school resource officer was called and was able to gain control of Williams, officials said.

“As the backpack was searched by school officials, they found a loaded handgun inside,” officers added. Further investigation found that the gun was stolen from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction.”

During their search, officers said they found no drugs inside the backpack.

”I applaud this teacher for acting on a suspicion,” Public Safety Director Charlie Bird said. “This could very well have prevented something much more serious from occurring, whether on campus or off.”

According to a news release, Williams is facing several charges including possession of a weapon on school grounds, possession of a stolen handgun and battery on a school employee.