A University of South Carolina freshman faces gun charges after bringing more to college than just bedding.
Trevor Scott Stephens, 17, of Walterboro, SC, faces charges of possession of firearms on school property after USC police found brass knuckles and five handguns in his dorm room in the Maxcy College residence hall.
The officers made the weapons discovery thanks in part to a helpful student. A resident of Maxcy approached a resident mentor about the guns about 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21, according to a report issued to the Daily Gamecock. The resident mentor contacted law enforcement regarding the complaint.
When law enforcement approached Stephens about searching his room, he was initially hesitant. Stephens had no prior criminal record according to a search done by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Stephens eventually told officers he only had brass knuckles, according to the report.
Law enforcement began searching his room and found more than just brass knuckles.
According to the report, the search turned up:
- A Smith & Wesson .38
- A Taurus .38
- A GSG 1911 .22
- A Highpoint 9mm
- A Glock 17 9mm
Officers discovered the guns in a green bag inside Stephen’s closet, the report states. Stephens later provided officers with a written confession.
If Stephens is convicted on the charges, he could face five years in jail and receive a fine of $5,000 for possessing the firearms on school property. Stephens is also banned from campus. He was released to his parents from Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on a $20,000 bond, according to the university release.
The University issued an email to all USC students alerting them of the weapons discovery. This email, combined with those who witnessed Stephens in handcuffs, caused a stir on campus the day before classes were set to begin.
Many, who witnessed the arrest, thought it was just another drug or alcohol arrest commonly seen during the first week of classes, as many new freshmen celebrate their new found freedom. Other students had no idea of the arrest until the university sent out the email.
Many students expressed thanks to law enforcement for responding in such a fast matter. Third-year marketing student, Tim Sattler, who lived on the same floor as Stephens, two rooms away, states, “He seemed like a nice kid.” Sattler said he definitely did not see Stephens arrest coming.
In regards to how law enforcement acted Sattler states, “The action taken was good,” He continues by saying, “They immediately removed him—no warnings or second changes. I’m glad they took this seriously.”
University Officials Reactions
Vice President of Student Affairs, Dennis Pruitt, says a full investigation will follow and that the intervention proved the effectiveness of the university’s response system.
“It was good example of how things should work,” Pruitt states. Pruitt states that the university did not have to wait for Stephens’ conviction to remove him from campus because he states, “Regardless, the university has to react as though it’s a threat to the campus community.”
With so many students moving in at once, it may hard to track who brings firearms on campus. USC officials rely heavily on students reporting these incidences to authorities.
“Someone reported it, the police investigated it—they all did their job,” Pruitt states. “I’m certainly thankful we’re going about our risk assessment without [a more serious] incident occurring.”
As for now, police say the university is safe and there is no ongoing threat. Police are still investigating the incident and may file more charges.
The South Carolina criminal defense lawyers at the Strom Law Firm wish USC students and college students everywhere a happy and safe school year. If you or your student is facing criminal charges, a South Carolina criminal defense lawyer at the Strom Law Firm can help. Call us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.