A teacher, Manuael Ernest Dillow, 60, has been arrested for allegedly lining up his students against a classroom wall and firing a starter pistol at them, mirroring the execution-style often seen in films and television.
Dillow apparently lined up the students near a garage door of the school’s welding shop and pulled out his “blank-firing gun” that looked chillingly real and pulled his miserable stunt on 12 terrified young students.
No students were injured and it is still uncertain what the motive behind the stunt was. Police have said it is not clear why the teacher pulled the stunt.
One of the students, Matt Wilkinson, stood by his teacher saying he was not afraid when the incident happened. Matt’s father said that neither his son was afraid, nor had the teacher pointed the gun at the children. He told, ‘I support Mr. Dillow 100-percent and my son and I will be in the court room when he goes, to support him.’
Dillow faces 12 felony charges, one felony count for each student that includes brandishing a firearm on school property and inducing fear among the children. The school in question is William H. Neff Center, a career and technical school, in Abingdon, VA.
Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said in a statement that the teacher fired his pistol between four and ten times in the direction of the students. The sound that emanated from the firearm was “similar to that of a firearm that fires a projectile, thus placing the students in fear.”
The Sheriff told ABC news that the students said that they were frightened owing to which under the “Virginia code, the brandishing charges include inducing fear to the persons involved.”
School authorities confirmed that the gun was a teaching aid for criminal justice class in the school and that Dillow had borrowed it from a teacher in another department.
Each charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years or a $2,500 fine or both. Dillow was released on a $20,000 unsecured bond with a hearing date scheduled for May 7.
Following the incident Dillow was suspended without pay from his job with the school system. He was removed from the classroom, but has not been fired from the school, Washington County schools superintendent Jim Sullivan said.