Local News

October 6, 2012

Man accused of carrying gun on school property pleads not guilty

A man charged with carrying a gun onto school property last summer has pleaded not guilty in Whitfield County Superior Court before Judge Jack Partain.

Oscar Morales, who was 17 years old at the time and living in Dalton, was charged Aug. 25, 2011, by the Dalton Police Department in connection with carrying a handgun within about 15 feet of Roan School. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment earlier this week to possession of a firearm on school property, possession of a pistol or revolver by a person under 18 and carrying a concealed weapon.

Morales is represented by the Public Defender’s Office. Officials there didn’t immediately return a call. A phone number for Morales could not be found.

The incident report from the police department doesn’t indicate that Morales threatened anyone.

According to the report, an officer stopped and talked to Morales because he was among five people hanging out near the school at a time when there had been a rash of recent crimes in the area. The report states that when Morales appeared nervous, the officer began questioning him and later found a Raven P-25 automated pistol during a search. A P-25 is a very small, inexpensive handgun.

Four other people with Morales, including two juveniles, were charged with loitering and prowling “because they were unable to give a good reason for hanging out near the school,” the report states.

“I spoke to Officer (Steve) Zahn (who handled the case), and he said that all the guys would tell them there on the scene was that they were just there hanging out,” said police department spokesman Bruce Frazier.”

Morales is scheduled for trial the week of Nov. 12.

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