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Charleroi man attends truancy hearing, ends up in county jail

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 1:01 a.m.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
The Charleroi Area Middle and High School on Tuesday, Febuary,11,2014.
David Messinger of Charleroi charged with bringing a knife into Charleroi Area High School on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.

A Charleroi man was jailed Tuesday for allegedly carrying a concealed pocket knife into Charleroi Area High School.

School district police said David Michael Messinger, 23, of 1205 McKean Ave., Charleroi, showed up at a truancy hearing around 9:30 a.m. with his wife, Shanea, and began yelling obscenities.

The couple appeared before Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins in the second floor community room because of attendance issues with two elementary school students, according to Charleroi Area director of security Michael Kresich.

Hopkins traditionally conducts such hearings on site.

Kresich said David Messinger became “irate” during the hearing and was told to leave the building. However, no one knew Messinger was carrying a pocket knife in his pants pocket at the time, police said.

“I told him you can't swear in the building, you can't yell and you can't make threats, and he told me, ‘You're treating me like a (expletive) 2-year-old,'” Kresich said. “That's when he went outside and started screaming.”

Kresich said Messinger exited the school while “using loud and vulgar language” before yelling a harsh vulgarity outside the doorway.

Kresich said that after Messinger refused to stop, he arrested him.

Kresich said Shanea Messinger allegedly reached into the pocket of her husband's hoodie and was told to remove her hand immediately because the officer did not know if the man was carrying a weapon.

David Messinger responded, “I have a knife. I use it for protection,” said Kresich, who confiscated the folding knife from a pants pocket.

David Messinger was charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of a weapon on school property and disorderly conduct.

He was arraigned before Hopkins at 10:45 a.m. and sent to the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $35,000 straight cash bond.

“I hope it sends a message to anybody else,” Kresich said of the bond amount.

“I heard other schools had similar situations, but I had concern what he might have done if the hearing didn't go the way he wanted it to go. To get that irate over an attendance situation, it was a little odd.”

Kresich said David Messinger, who is not listed in school records as the father of the two young students who were subjects of the hearing, had made calls to several staff members in the past couple days.

Shanea Messinger is the students' mother, Kresich said.

Kresich said he spoke to David Messinger over the phone Monday after district employees raised concerns.

The officer said that in the conversation, David Messinger told him, “‘When I come up to the school, I'm going to straighten some people out.'”

“He wasn't supposed to come to the hearing today,” Kresich said. “When I talked to him yesterday, he said he wasn't coming to the hearing and hung up.

“Once I found out he was there, I headed down and just wanted to nip some things in the bud.”

Kresich said the absence of metal detectors at the school is “a sore spot” with him and he hopes Tuesday's incident will spur the administration to consider installing them at entrances.

Acting Superintendent Reid Smith said the district might consider such measures, but was relieved the situation was handled without further incident.

“After 10 years (retirement), police in the hallways is a change to me. But these are different times, and I'm sure everything will be examined after today,” Smith said.

“(David Messinger's) language was terrible and, although it wasn't brandished, he did have a knife. He wasn't supposed to be in the building today, but our security people were on the ball. ... You just never know anymore. You have to be prepared for everything.”

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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