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Bayside High student charged after loaded gun found at school

Principal Troy Walton said that a "concerning picture on social media" reported to the school's administration led them to search two students, and a gun was found.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — CORRECTION: This story has been updated to state correctly which day the gun was found at the school. 

A student at Bayside High School faces criminal charges after a loaded handgun was found in a backpack Wednesday morning, school officials confirm.

In a message sent to Bayside families, Principal Troy Walton explained that a "concerning picture on social media" reported to the school's administration led them to search two students just after 7:30 a.m.

A loaded handgun was found in one of the students' backpacks.

Virginia Beach police said 18-year-old Kevonta Hawkins was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm on school grounds and receipt of a stolen firearm. Police said the gun was stolen out of Chesapeake, but it's still unclear how Hawkins got ahold of the gun.  

No students or staff were hurt, and the school’s administration, Virginia Beach Police Department, and the Office of Security and Emergency Management are investigating the incident, Walton said.

A school spokesperson confirmed to 13News Now that the school doesn't have metal detectors.

"We know that with the tragedy in Nashville on Monday, many students and staff may be experiencing feelings of anxiety and fear, and this news may also enhance those worries," Walton wrote in the message. "Please remember that our school counselors are available and can assist in finding additional resources as necessary."

It's a scare parents living near the high school say they are growing tired of hearing.

"Now, it happens so often that you just kind of read the headlines and you're like...another one," said Rosemary Delano, who is raising three young children by homeschooling them. 

She said while her decision to homeschool her children didn't start because of safety concerns, she said the latest violence at schools across the nation is a big reason why she kept them home to study.

Liticia Pinero, who also lives near Bayside High School, knows the frightening scene all too well when her daughter's close friend survived the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

"It's scary," Pinero said she recalled the moments she learned her daughter's friend was in the school that year. "We were crying. We didn't know if they were alive. The kids were so afraid after the shooting. It was really bad."

Pinero and Delano said they hope administrators take this recent threat at the high school and increase security for the sake of the students.

"More security...something," said Pinero. "And more supervision from parents."

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