Police: Employee brought loaded gun to Westinghouse High School
A Pittsburgh Public Schools employee who brought a loaded handgun to school Thursday after threats from a student “made him feel unsafe” faces criminal charges, police said.
James Cole, 32, is charged with possession of a weapon on school property and reckless endangerment — both misdemeanors — and one felony count of child endangerment.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools website lists Cole as a project assistant at Westinghouse High School in Homewood.
A statement from district spokeswoman Ebony Pugh lauded Westinghouse staff for “acting swiftly” to secure the weapon.
She said the district will review the protocols for staff entering the building.
A custodian found the gun about 9:45 a.m. Thursday on top of a file cabinet in a storage room in the music suite, according to a criminal complaint. The custodian alerted school police, who found the gun in plain view on the cabinet.
Cole reminded officers of a physical altercation he’d been in with a student Tuesday in which the student said he’d have his brother “come shoot Cole in the face,” police wrote in the complaint.
He said the threat “made him feel unsafe, so he started carrying his weapon to school for his safety,” police said. Cole told police he brought the gun into the building in his backpack and put it in the secure storage room.
Police said the Glock 45 was loaded. Cole has a valid concealed carry permit, police said.
Cole was taken to the Allegheny County Jail.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .