Officials investigating video of 15-year-old holding up a pellet gun, while making racial remarks
WICOMICO COUNTY, Md.- Over 400 shares on Facebook and several comments later, a video went viral Tuesday evening, showing a Parkside High School student, who is also the son of Tonya Laird Lewis, a Wicomico County Board of Education member, held up a pellet gun while saying the words, “Shoot n-word for fun, you hear me?”
“I found it repulsive in this day and time that a student would say what he said in that video clip,” Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis said. “For God’s sake this is 2022 man. Are you kidding me? To have that type of racist language spewing from the mouth of a 15-year-old.”
Sheriff Mike Lewis said when he first saw the video he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“This is unacceptable, thank God we had someone who contacted us; and I personally received a number of Facebook posts regarding this post,” Sheriff Lewis said. “We already had deputies on it, we already had deputies working on the investigation.”
His department took it as an immediate threat and sent deputies to the students house Tuesday night. There, they conducted a threat assessment with both the family and the home.
“This was done in person, we wanted to yank this kid’s chain, we wanted to see what he thought he was up to,” Sheriff Lewis said. “Did he think it was appropriate? Did he have any remorse for what he did? He was very remorseful.”
While speaking with the 15-year-old, police learned the video was created about 5 months ago and recently it was air dropped inside of his school.
“I know very well how airdrop works and you can walk through any public school here in Wicomico County, and if your airdrop is set to everyone as opposed to your contacts, I can tell you, you can pick up dozens of images walking through any school in this county; that is a fact,” Sheriff Lewis said.
Sheriff Lewis told me they deemed this to be an isolated incident and the child’s family was unaware of what had taken place. 47ABC reached out to Tonya Laird Lewis to ask about her son’s video. In a statement she said, “At this time we are going to decline an interview. We are focusing on our son and his poor choices. Working with the Wicomico County Public School System and the Sheriffs Office.”
“The board member has been very cooperative, the board member was just as upset, or appeared to be just as upset about it as we are and has been very cooperative with law enforcement,” Sheriff Lewis said.
Sheriff Lewis added they are working with the local state’s attorneys office to see what charges, if any, would be applicable. He also said he does believe residents of the county, staff, and students are in safe hands.
“This information has been widely disseminated,” Sheriff Lewis said. “Not just necessarily throughout our office, but throughout the community, but especially our school resource deputies who are charged with protecting our county schools; and I can assure you that everybody is on high alert today, and there is no reason for anybody to be concerned over at Parkside or any other school in this county based on this particular incident.”
Last night, the Parkside High School Principle sent a message to parents and staff saying the video shared via social media does not in any way reflect the feelings or teachings at Parkside High School. For a link to the full news release, click here.