Loaded Rifle, Drugs Found On Harnett County High School Campus

Harnett County Sheriff’s Office Photo

HARNETT COUNTY – An 18 year-old student is facing serious charges after a loaded rifle, ammunition, and narcotics was reportedly found Thursday on the campus of Triton High School on Maynard Lake Road, Erwin.

The School Resource Officer assigned to Triton High was investigating a drug complaint in the student parking lot when he located a blue Ford Fusion that was the focus of the complaint.

Harnett County Sheriff’s Office Photo

In a press release, Sheriff Wayne Coats said the officer was able to see marijuana and a high-capacity drum magazine for a rifle inside the vehicle through the window. A school administrator was notified and upon further inspection, a barrel of a rifle was sticking out from under a towel covering the weapon.

A loaded Diamondback brand 5.56 caliber rifle, two loaded drum magazines, one standard magazine, various caliber ammunition, marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia were seized from the vehicle, according to the press release.

The driver of the vehicle, Octavius Gerrard Purcell, of Festus Road, Coats, was removed from a classroom at Triton High School and arrested. He was taken before a magistrate.

Purcell was charged with possession of a weapon on school grounds, possession of marijuana / drug paraphernalia. He held under a $250,000 bond at the Harnett County Detention Center.


  1. Good, he is 18 years old. Now treat him like a adult and throw his sorry back side into jail. Guess thugs going to be thugs……

  2. My brother teaches at a different harnett high school. He said students can opt out of pictures for the yearbook now and he had a senior tell him “I ain’t getting my picture taken so the cops can find me easier in the future”! Way to plan for your future, smh!

  3. In the past when a student got caught with a gun in his car at school the message board gets lots of posts on how yall used to do it the 70s and that its not a big deal. What’s the difference this time?

  4. 1. He has 2nd Amendment rights that shall not be infringed.
    2. Interesting that the reaction is to throw the “thug” in jail from such a pro gun crowd. I wonder what makes y’all think he’s a “thug.”

    • Drugs and drug paraphernalia, underage to own a gun, not following the rules for concealed carry and not following the law. Several reasons to believe he is a thug!

    • 1. Agreed, but not secured while he was away from them and in plain sight; very unresponsible gun ownership; not that I think the government should bring down any hammers as a result, but it’s a point we as citizens and members of a moral society need to hold accountable.

      2. …because of the drugs. And I’ll be my next paycheck that “pistol” (yes, that AR isn’t a “rifle” by definition, but a pistol) was not obtained legally.

  5. I hear what you are saying…current society ‘wants their cake and eat it too’….very quick to label and condemn without the entire story…unless it pertains to them!!! But with that being said the world that we are living in is INSANE…hence the 15 yr old Wake Co. boy who killed 5 people. My daughter works at a Johnston Co. high school…last week a student came dressed in full tactical military style attire…when staff FINALLY got around to doing a ‘threat assessment’ …his response was that he just wanted to see how long it would take someone to respond!!!! Maybe he was just being a teenage smart-a** but scarier…was he doing a dry run for a later plan…SAD….that’s how we have to think today

  6. Ronjohn 24 you know what a thug is be serious. You voted for one..
    Luckily you want be able to vote for him this time!!
    Your fired!!!!

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