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Police: Chula Vista Student Arrested With Gun On Campus

Chula Vista police said officers arrested a Hilltop High School ninth-grader on Wednesday after he brought a loaded handgun onto the campus, and his father was arrested hours later on a weapons charge.

The boy's name was not released, but the arrested father was identified by Chula Vista police as Zacharia Dow, 36, of Chula Vista.

The incident began about 11 a.m. when an assistant principal called police to report that several students had seen a 14-year-old student displaying a handgun in class, police Lt. Fritz Reber said.

"They claimed the suspect student ... made statements indicating that the gun was loaded and that he could potentially use (it) to shoot someone at school," Reber said.

When officers went to the boy's classroom and summoned him, he stood up and reached for his backpack, though not in "an aggressive way," the lieutenant said.

They rushed over and took him into custody without incident. Inside the suspect's book bag was a loaded .44-caliber revolver believed to belong to his father, according to police.

The arrested teen was expected to be booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of bringing a loaded firearm onto school grounds.

Wednesday evening, the boy's father, Zacharia Dow, was arrested because detectives discovered that Dow was a convicted felon and was in possession of at least one firearm, the .44-caliber gun that police seized at the school.

An unsecured .22-caliber pistol was then found under a mattress at his home.

Dow was cooperative and turned himself in about 6 p.m., police said.

Under California's Gun-Free School Zone Act, guns are prohibited on public and private campuses and within 1,000 feet of them.

Wednesday's incident at Hilltop High was at least the third time this year a student was investigated for taking a gun on a San Diego County school campus.

In January, Chula Vista police investigated after an 11-year-old brought a gun on the campus of Feaster Charter School. According to a story in U-T San Diego, police said the boy kept the unloaded gun in a bag and did not show it on campus. He had brought it from home.

In April, San Diego police cited a student at Mission Bay High School for having a pellet gun in his backpack, according to U-T San Diego.

Last year, San Diego police arrested English teacher Ned Carter Walker, who taught at Farb Middle School in Tierrasanta, after he carried a loaded .380-caliber pistol and a knife with a 2.5-inch blade onto the campus. He was placed on three years of probation after pleading guilty to one count of carrying a loaded firearm in a school zone, according to U-T San Diego. The knife charge was dismissed.

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