A disabled Iraqi war veteran who mistakenly brought a handgun onto the campus of a Johnston County School was arrested on a felony charge, only for it to be dropped 24 hours later.
The incident happened at River Dell Elementary School near Clayton.
Christopher Rayvon Gilmore of Selma drove his children to school Monday morning. While in the carpool line one of his children was in the back seat trying to get out but could not release the latch on their seat belt.
Gilmore got out of his vehicle to attempt to unbuckle the seat belt latch. When he did, a teacher allegedly saw Gilmore with a handgun he had in a holster on his side. Gilmore is a licensed concealed carry permit holder but under state law is not allowed to have a firearm on school grounds.
Gilmore reportedly got his child’s seat belt unstuck and got back in his vehicle, never entering the school building.
The teacher reported the incident to River Dell administrators who in turn notified the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. On Wednesday, Gilmore was charged with possession of a weapon on educational property. The charge is a felony.
The 36 year-old father allegedly admitted to investigators he simply forgot he had the firearm in his side holster when he took his children to campus. The gun likely would have never been spotted if he hadn’t gotten out of his car.
On Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson dropped the charge against Gilmore. In the court dismissal Jackson said it was in the “interest of justice under the totality of the circumstances…”
Gilmore had been free on a $5,000 bond since his arrest.
Johnston County Schools released a statement to WTSB News on Friday stating,”…a person stepped out of their vehicle to assist a student get out of the car. At that time, a firearm was observed in a holster on the person’s side. It has been determined that the students and staff were not in danger. As by law, this was reported to law enforcement. At this time, it is in the hands of law enforcement for investigation.”
Felony Charge Dropped In 2016 Incident
This is not the first time a similar situation has occurred. In March 2016, Kenneth Bryan Smith II of Smithfield was arrested at West Smithfield Elementary School after deputies were called to a custody dispute between the child’s parents.
When Smith got out of his vehicle, the officer saw a handgun tucked in the driver’s door pocket. He was subsequently arrested for felony possession of a weapon on education property and misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon. In court, the felony possession charge was dropped. Smith pled guilty to carrying a concealed weapon and was given a probation sentence and ordered to pay a fine and court costs.