Whitefish Bay BBall Players Brought BB Guns to Away Games

Members of the Whitefish Bay Middle School basketball team told police they had the BB guns with them when they played games at schools in Shorewood and Bayside. The four boys face gun-related charges in juvenile court.

Four Whitefish Bay Middle School students are now facing juvenile charges and school disciplinary measures for pulling bb guns and pellet guns on their teammates before basketball practice last week. The boys also told police they brought the guns with them to an away game in Shorewood.

Since the incident was first reported two weeks ago, the subject of guns in schools, school safety and disciplinary repercussions have elevated in the Patch comments section—a dialogue similar to the gun culture discussions occurring in Congress and in the media since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

The four students involved—a 13-year-old boy and three 12-year-old boys—have not been in school since Jan. 18. The School Board is meeting in closed session Monday to hold expulsion hearings, although district officials have not said whether the expulsion hearing is related to the bb gun incident. 

All three boys are ordered into Milwaukee County Childrens Court on Feb. 18 for misdemeanor charges of possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds. The 13-year-old boy also faces a felony juvenile count of possession of a controlled substance. 

Students threatened with BB guns

A 13-year-old Whitefish Bay student told police that, when he arrived at the high school for Junior Blue Dukes basketball practice on Jan. 16, one of the three other teammates in the gym told him they wanted to show him something in the stairwell leading to the Field House tunnel area. After lacing up his basketball shoes, he followed the three other boys to the tunnel entrance, where his teammate—a 12-year-old Milwaukee boy—was waiting for him with a gun pointed at him.

Thinking it was a real gun, the boy turned around and ran back upstairs. One of the boys later told him it was just a "spring gun" and that it was not real. Witnesses told police that neither gun had an orange tip or any other marking that would distinguish them from a real firearm. The incident was caught on surveillance video at the high school.

The 12-year-old Milwaukee boy and the 13-year-old Whitefish Bay boy, also showed the gun to two other boys before basketball practice that night.

One of the basketball players, who saw the gun at three different occassions, said the two boys followed him into the boys bathroom and said "Give me your gummy bears or I will pull the heat."

On another occassion in the bathroom involving the same three boys, the 13-year-old boy pulled the trigger of the gun, causing the other boy to run out of the bathroom fearing for his safety.

The 13-year-old Whitefish Bay boy brandishing the gun at the practice had a similar stunt pulled on him the day before by a different student, a 12-year-old boy from Milwaukee. On that afternoon, at about 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 15, the two boys were leaving a basketball game at the middle school when the Milwaukee boy pointed a gun at the Whitefish Bay boy's chest and pulled the trigger. When the boy with the gun told the other boy it was not real, they continued walking to the high school.

The 12-year-old Milwaukee boy gave the two guns to the 13-year-old Whitefish Bay boy, who put both of them in his backpack. The boy took the guns to the middle school the next day but never pulled the guns out during school. After school, he took his backpack with him to a basketball game in Shorewood from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. He and his friends then went to the high school to wait for the Jr. Blue Dukes practice to start. 

The next day at school, the 12-year-old Milwaukee boy took one of the guns out of the other boy's backpack and gave it to his friend, a 12-year-old Whitefish Bay boy, who was later forced to turn over the gun to the Whitefish Bay Police Department. Still possessing the other gun, the 13-year-old Whitefish Bay boy took the gun with him to his basketball team's game in Bayside.

When police searched for the gun at the 13-year-old boy's Whitefish Bay home, they found a large kitchen knife, a punctured can of whip cream, and an empty beer bottle in the bedroom. Inside his backpack, police found an empty Madagascar video game box that was used to conceal the guns, as well as a bottle of Oxycodone belonging to his deceased mother.

When interviewed at his house, the boy initially told police he didn't know the location of the gun, but eventually took the gun out of the waistband of his sweatpants.

The boy later told police he got the guns about two weeks ago from a friend at Messmer High School, who found them in his basement. He told police he brought the guns to school because eighth grade boys were messing with him and his friends.

Alol February 02, 2013 at 05:40 AM
You're missing the point, Bob, which is unlike you since I think you might be relatively sane, sapient even, compared to some of the others who have waded into the depths of gun debate on The Patch--despite your political stance on the subject. But Bren might know better. In this, the era of intimidating others through the use of guns, I don't think these pre-adolescent minds would've been creative enough to choose tire irons, claw hammers, or battle-axes as effective items of intimidation. They were obviously trying to get a point across with bringing these guns to school, (regardless of these weapon's ability or severity to function) as brandishing guns is now the popular tool in our society with which to create desired reaction-- that being intimidation-- to threaten these other older kids who were their alleged offenders. I don't understand how this is beyond anyone's comprehension, unless their knuckles are tightly wrapped around their own cold steel. THINK OF THE CHILDREN, BOB! WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!
Alol February 02, 2013 at 05:43 AM
But to answer your question, I'd be alarmed if these kids brought battle axes, claw hammers, throwing stars, nun-chucks or any other weapon to school just because of the intent. Weapons in school is scary. Especially at this tender age.
Bob McBride February 02, 2013 at 05:59 AM
The point, which you're missing completely, is that it's the action, not the object, that should be looked at. The actions taken with the BB guns are what needs to be addressed. And those types of actions should be addressed in the same fashion, whether they're taken with a BB gun, a clawed pry bar, baseball bat or any other object used as a weapon to intimidate or injure another student.
Alol February 02, 2013 at 06:19 AM
I think perhaps you didn't read my very last comment, and I think maybe you're looking for an argument, or you're trolling, or you misunderstand what this thread (started by my simple, undeniably relatable comment--at least for most parents) is about. Kids bringing weapons, be they unloaded BB guns, or weapons of any type--especially at the young age of twelve-- to pose a threat, is frightening. How will these kids be dealing with this type of conflict in high school, or college if they're already brandishing guns in jr. high? That's what I meant by "This is terrifying". Then Special Donny chimes in and asks what I find so wrong with kids bringing fake guns to school (displaying his usual stellar intellect) and I question him, get no reply, and then you step in telling me, "Ah, they weren't even loaded. Take a chill pill." Then we waste a lot of time arguing the same point. Get some rest, McBride.
Bob McBride February 02, 2013 at 07:02 AM
To go back to your original question, middle school kids bringing unloaded BB guns to school isn't scary unless you make assumptions about why they brought them. BB guns are not the same thing as regular guns. In fact, WFB school district policy regarding punishment for possession on or near school property is different for each. So even if you can't recognize the difference, the professionals charged with dealing with these situations can, and do.


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