SHEPHERD, Mich. (AP) — A county sheriff apologized Tuesday for accidentally leaving his backup gun in a Michigan school gym locker room.
Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main said his mistake is inexcusable.
“In the 20 years of law enforcement service I have never left a weapon anywhere,” he said in a statement. “I have no excuse for my lack of responsibility with this matter. I have worked diligently my entire career to protect people, especially our youth. However, I have failed to do just that, and I’m devastated with my lack of accountability in this matter.”
Main said he used the locker room at Shepherd Middle School to change from street clothes into uniform for an event at the weekend. Main said he believed the gun — his backup weapon — was in his bag when he left. A student later found the gun and told an adult, according to Main.
It wasn’t clear if Main, an elected official, would face disciplinary action.
Shepherd police Chief Luke Sawyer told The Associated Press Tuesday that his department is investigating the incident and that the findings will be turned over to the Isabella County prosecutor’s office. Prosecutors will decide if any charges are to be filed in the case.
The Isabella County prosecutor’s office said Tuesday that it also is looking into the incident, but had no further comment.
Main told the Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant that Isabella County deputies are permitted to carry guns while off-duty. He said deputies are not subject to gun-free zone requirements at schools because they are not carrying under concealed pistol license requirements. Isabella County is 150 miles (240 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.
The possibility of allowing guns in schools is one of the nation’s most contentious issues, as lawmakers, educators, parents and students try to find ways to stem mass shootings following last month’s massacre of 17 people at a Florida high school.
Suggestions include allowing teachers with firearms training to bring guns into the school.
Shepherd Public Schools Superintendent Claire Bunker told parents that the weapon was found before classes started Monday, according to the newspaper.
“He is human and he made a mistake,” Bunker said of Main, adding that she is extremely proud of the student who brought the gun to the attention of a staff member. Main said he personally apologized to the student who found his gun.