HAZEL GREEN, Ala. - A Hazel Green High School student is facing felony charges after a gun was discovered to be in his possession on school property.
The Madison County Sheriff's Office confirmed that 18-year-old Adrian Lopez brought a gun to school and it fell onto the floor during class Thursday morning. It is unclear if the gun was loaded.
Authorities quickly contained the situation and the student was detained. No one was hurt during the incident.
Lopez is charged with certain persons forbidden from possession of a pistol, which is a Class C felony.
Students say this was surprising to learn.
"I thought it was just some stupid rumor until I heard the teacher talking about it," said Lea Malofsky, a senior at Hazel Green High. "I was like, 'Oh, wow, this is actually real. This actually happened to a kid I know.'"
Malofsky said she knows Lopez, but she doesn't know him to be a potentially violent person.
"I was shocked because he wasn't a person that I expected this from," she explained. "He was never mean to me. He was never mean to anybody I knew. Always really nice and respectful."
Malofsky added, "Adrian-- I don't think he could hurt a fly. Intentionally."
She said she is not afraid to return to school on Friday.
Meanwhile, Madison County Schools sent us this statement:
"This morning it was discovered that a student brought a gun to Hazel Green High School. The weapon was not discharged and was immediately secured. The Sheriff’s Office is now handling the investigation. The school notified parents about what occurred."
Parents say the Hazel Green High principal sent them a similar message this afternoon.
One parent says she wishes the message had been sent more promptly, though.
"Learning on the back side that there was an issue will make a mother's mind, or a father's mind, go to the worst case scenario," said Faith Owens.
Owens, whose daughter attends Hazel Green High and who has several grandchildren coming closer to 9th grade, said she loves the school. She loves the community. But she thinks the school took too long to tell parents about the problem.
"They do a great job of anticipating most of the time. They really do rally these kids, they do support them, but this is a moment where I feel they let us all down," she remarked.
Owens said she received an email message from the school principal following the incident, but it left some details to be desired. She also feels like students should have been better informed of the incident once it happened.
"I have a little bit more information now, but that doesn't make me feel any better because I'm still going to react. For me, it's about advocacy as a parent," she explained. "These are our children. If you're going to treat them like young adults, then you have to inform your young adults what's going on in the environment that they're in."
She said her daughter was frightened after this happened, and she's worried too.
"If a gun can walk in today, why can't a gun walk in tomorrow?" Owens questioned.
"In this scenario, the parents didn't have what they needed to work with. I was completely unaware." She added, "Now, I can breathe and I can say, 'We can do better.' Nobody is perfect. Let's get as close to perfect as we can because these are our children."