The Daily Gamecock

Police: Freshman had 5 handguns in dorm

Incident at Maxcy College startles USC community

When fellow students saw a freshman being led out of the Maxcy College residence hall in handcuffs Tuesday, they figured it was just another drug or alcohol bust.

But they found out the real reason a day later from a Carolina Alert — USC police had found brass knuckles and five handguns in his room.

Trevor Scott Stephens, 17, of Walterboro, S.C., was arrested and charged with possession of firearms on school property Tuesday, according to a police report released Wednesday. A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division search returned no prior criminal record for Stephens.

Trevor Scott StephensOfficers arrived at Maxcy after a resident of the building approached a resident mentor about the guns at around 4:30 p.m., according to the report.

When the officers approached Stephens and asked to search his room, he briefly hesitated and said he only had brass knuckles inside, the report said.

A search yielded those and the guns — a Smith & Wesson .38, a Taurus .38, a  GSG 1911 .22, a Highpoint 9 mm and a Glock 17 9 mm, according to the report. A USC spokesman said he was unaware of a motive or the presence of any ammunition, as the investigation continues.

The guns were found in a green bag in Stephens’s closet, the report says; he later gave officers a written confession.

Stephens was detained in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and released on $20,000 bond, according to the university release.

Under state law, he could be jailed for up to five years and receive a $5,000 fine for possessing firearms on school property.

Stephens has also been banned from campus, according to the alert, which was emailed to students Wednesday afternoon.

The announcement caused a flurry of excitement on campus the day before classes began, as students and media outlets congregated around the Pendleton Street residence hall.

Trevor Gilchrist, a fourth-year journalism student who lives in Maxcy, said he didn’t know what was going on until he received the Carolina Alert email.

“We didn’t know about it,” Gilchrist said. “We knew the police had come, but we thought it was some kind of drug thing.”

Tim Sattler, a third-year marketing student, said he lived on the same floor, two rooms away from Stephens, until Tuesday.

“He seemed like a nice kid,” Sattler said. “I definitely wouldn’t have seen that coming.”

Sattler complimented the police and USC community, whom he said wasted no time in working together to address the situation.

“The action taken was good,” Sattler said. “They immediately removed him — no warnings or second chances. I’m glad they took this seriously.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Dennis Pruitt said that while a full investigation will follow, the intervention proved the effectiveness of the university’s response system.

“It was a good example of how things should work,” Pruitt said. While Stephens will be afforded due process, Pruitt said, “Regardless, the university has to react as though it’s a threat to the campus community.”

With thousands of students moving in at the same time, Pruitt acknowledged that preventing them from bringing firearms — or any contraband for that matter — into campus buildings can be nearly impossible.

But he emphasized that the USC community must rely on one another’s vigilance in reporting these incidents to authorities.

“Someone reported it, the police investigated it — they all did their job,” he said. “I’m certainly thankful we’re going about our risk assessment without [a more serious] incident occurring.”

Two counseling sessions were held Wednesday afternoon for any Maxcy residents whom the incident may have left shaken. Gilchrist said the incident makes him think twice about campus safety.

“I’ve been here for four years, and I love USC, but I don’t want to have to worry that there’s someone that dangerous in my residence hall,” he said.

Capt. Eric Grabski, a USC Department of Law Enforcement and Safety spokesman, said the situation had been handled and USC is safe.

“There is no ongoing threat right now,” Grabski said.

Police are still investigating, Grabski said, and further charges may be filed; when that could happen is not yet clear, he said.


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