By Tamas Mondovics
The question of assigning deputies to each elementary school have once again took center stage following last month’s arrest of a Riverview man for exhibiting a firearm within a 1,000 feet of school property.
According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s detective, Larry McKinnon, an HCSO deputy was working extra-duty at Terrell Sessums Elementary School in Riverview, and was alerted by a school crossing guard as well as several children about a man with a gun walking on the sidewalk along Ramble Creek Dr. directly in front of the school.
McKinnon said that the deputy saw a man later identified as Dillon Conn, 25, holding a gun and making no effort to conceal it.
“Conn reportedly appeared agitated as he exhibited the weapon in a careless, threatening manner,” McKinnon said.
Confronting Conn, the deputy with his weapon drawn gave him clear instructions to stop walking towards him and to drop the gun onto the ground.
Witnesses said that Conn stopped and screamed that the deputy would have to shoot him because he was not going to put the gun down.
Conn was transported to the Orient Rd. Jail for booking without further incident.
After a closer inspection, Conn’s weapon, which originally was thought to be a medium caliber semi-automatic handgun, turned out to be a gas powered BB pistol, however it did not display a red tip on the end of the barrel that most BB pistols have.
The Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office and Tampa Police Department decided to temporarily staff schools with officers and deputies full-time until a long-term solution can be worked out, which gives no guarantee that deputies will be on-site next year. The estimated cost to add full-time officers at all elementary schools in Hillsborough County next year is $4 million. According to HCSO Lieutenant, Chad Chronister, while the incident ended without anyone hurt, the suspenseful situation at Sessums only supports the department’s efforts of taking weapons off the street.