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Police: Staff Member Allegedly Brought Gun To School Because He Felt Threatened By Student

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A Pittsburgh Public Schools employee allegedly brought a loaded gun to school because he felt threatened by a student.

According to a criminal complaint from Pittsburgh Police, the gun owner was identified as James Cole, a teacher's aide at Westinghouse Academy in Homewood.

Photo Credit: Allegheny County

Cole allegedly told police that he brought the gun into the 6-12 school because a student had threatened his life and he felt unsafe.

The teacher's aide had gotten into a physical altercation with the student Tuesday, law enforcement said. The student allegedly threatened to have his brother shoot Cole.

Authorities said Cole brought the loaded firearm in his backpack Thursday and put it in a storage area at the school.

The gun was reportedly found by a custodian in the storage area of the school's music suite. The custodian alerted the school security officer, who then alerted police of the situation.

Police said Cole has a license to carry a concealed weapon. However, bringing a gun onto school property is a violation of federal and state law, as well as board policy.

Cole was transported to Allegheny County Jail following the incident. He faces charges related to having a gun on school property and endangerment.

Westinghouse said in a statement that families were alerted of the incident. The school also said the board will assist in conducting a districtwide review of staff entry protocols and implement any changes deemed necessary.

The incident remains under investigation.

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