Authorities in Clarksburg, Maryland, were able to prevent what could have been another mass tragedy after they found a trove of weapons in the home of an 18-year-old who was arrested for bringing a loaded handgun and a knife to his school.
The incident took place last week, shortly after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 17 innocent people and injured more than a dozen.
Alwin Chen, an honor roll student at Clarksburg High School, was taken in custody after someone told school resource officer the teenager was possibly armed with a loaded gun. When the school official asked Chen about the allegations, he admitted he had a handgun in his backpack and a knife in the front pocket of his shirt.
Montgomery County police officers soon arrived on campus and detained Chen on multiple charges — including having handgun and possessing dangerous weapon on school property. Fortunately, no one was hurt during the entire episode.
While the incident was scary, especially in the direct aftermath of the mass shooting in Parkland, officials and Clarksburg resident probably thought they averted a potential tragedy just in time. However, what they didn’t realize was Chen’s arsenal was much bigger than what he was caught with.
As ABC affiliate WJLA reported, the Maryland teen also had an AR-15 style rifle — the weapon of choice for most mass shooters across the United States —along with ammunition, ballistic vest, C4 landmine detonator and several grenades at his home. As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, he had also prepared a list of grievances against his classmates.
All of these weapons were bought legally, which isn’t surprising considering how, in most states, teenagers are able to legally obtain firearms years before they can do things like buy alcohol.
According to the official report, the teen told an investigator he “felt anxious from social interactions between himself and students,” prompting the officer to recommend Chen undergo a mental evaluation.
“This illegal and dangerous behavior will not be tolerated in our school community,” Clarksburg High School Principal Edward Owusu wrote in a letter obtained by WJLA. “Weapons of any type are not permitted on or near school property. Any student caught with a weapon will be referred to law enforcement and punished accordingly.”
It is important to note Chen has no history of mental illness — an excuse that NRA-funded lawmakers frequently use to distract the nation from the issue of gun control. In addition to that, the 18-year-old also had at least two scholarship offers from two universities.
“There is no wording regarding any threat nor any expression of wanting to cause harm to anyone at the school," police said following his arrest.
The county school system said it wasn’t aware of any previous gun incident involving Chen, but the officials later discovered the teen had brought a weapon to the campus on one more occasion.
Meanwhile, Chen’s attorney David Felsen is asserting the weapons were not being kept in his client’s bedroom, but another room in the house where Chen lives with his parents and at least one other relative.
“They were found in someone else’s room,” he said. “Someone who is, we believe, authorized to have all these things.”
He also asserted Chen did not intend to hurt anyone.
“This is a young man who has desires of helping people, in terms of being a police officer or being in the military,” Felsen added. “He is very polite, well-mannered.”
Montgomery District Judge John Moffett called it a “difficult situation.”
“Individuals with access to weapons who pose a serious, imminent threat or danger are not tagged with a neon sign or a warning sign,” he said. “Looking at his parents, I don’t see any neon sign or flag on them that would make me think they have these types of weapons.”
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Montgomery County Police