Family of man charged with criminal trespassing at DeKalb Co. school speaks out

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. -- A DeKalb County man is facing multiple charges after police say he walked into Sylvania High School Tuesday night with what turned out to be a pellet gun.

21-year-old Cole Barnes is charged with criminal trespass, menacing and disorderly conduct.

Faculty secured the building after noticing what was called "suspicious behavior", took students to safety and called authorities right away.

"The teachers did what they're supposed to do," said Chief Darren Myers of Sylvania Police. "They locked everything down and secured everybody."

While police say the faculty acted appropriately to the situation, Barnes' family disagrees.

"My family doesn't own guns. We don't believe in guns. Yes, he has heavy metal. If you look at his Facebook he's into that kind of counterculture and stuff," said Barnes' aunt, Wendy Ponson.

Ponson said her nephew had no intentions of hurting anyone Tuesday night. "He didn't know if it was a game. He didn't know anything. He just saw all the lights on at 7 p.m. He's off of work. He's 21 years old. He thought, 'Let me see what's going on.'"

WHNT spoke to Barnes' grandmother, who he lives with, off camera. She said Barnes came home after leaving the high school. She said when she noticed police were looking for him, she contacted Sylvania police.

"We informed her that we were coming and she said we'll have him waiting," said Myers.

Barnes' motive for walking into the school with a pellet gun on hand hasn't been released yet. His aunt said he has been bonded out, but the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office told us he's still detained.