A 19-Year-Old Brought This Weapon Onto the Hercules Middle School Campus

19 year old Brandon Edward White, of Richmond, was arrested for bringing a weapon on school grounds.


A Hercules Middle School student told police Wednesday morning that she saw a male student bring a gun onto campus. That suspect, a 19-year-old who was not authorized to be on campus, was later arrested for possession of a weapon, which turned out to be a BB gun.  

Here's how the story played out, according to the Hercules Police Department:  

The student said she originally saw the male on the West Cat bus, when she was on her way to school.  The male was sitting in front of her and she saw him take a black handgun out if his right front jacket pocket and put it in his right front jeans pocket.  The student said she last saw the male, inside the school campus, by the administration gate.  The student described the male as an African American male, wearing a red hat and a 49er jacket.  The student said she thought the male was a former Hercules High School student.

The School Resources Officer immediately went to the area, of the campus, where the male had last been seen.  The SRO observed an African American male, wearing a red hat and 49er jacket, on the school campus.  The SRO recognized the male as a former student, Brandon White, and knew he was not authorized to by on the school campus during school hours.  The SRO un-holstered her department issued duty weapon and ordered the male subject to lay, facedown, on the ground.  The subject complied.  The SRO handcuffed the subject and checked his right front jean pocket, where the student said she had seen the subject put the gun.

As the SRO reached in the subject’s right front jeans pocket, he said “It’s a BB gun”.  The SRO recovered a black “Walther CP99 Compact Semi-Auto BB Gun”.  The BB gun's safety was in “fire mode” but there was no CO2 canister or pellets in the gun.  19 year old Brandon Edward White, of Richmond, was arrested for Possession/Bringing a Weapon on School Grounds (626.10(a)(1)PC).

The SRO searched White, incident to his arrest and he did not have a CO2 cartridge or pellets on his person.  The school administration has confirmed White was not authorized to be on the Hercules Middle School Campus.  White was transported to the Martinez Detention Facility.

Giorgio C. January 24, 2013 at 04:16 AM
Dan, On Sept 5th, I witnessed you request from the board an additional SRO. And nothing yet. There is a bigger problem at Hercules Middle High School than simply the lack of an SRO. These 2 schools are being managed by one principal. This principal never held the title of principal until this year and now they are in charge of two schools? And the test scores for children with disabilities at this school are comparable to those of schools in Compton. How can children learn anything in this environment? The WCCUSD continues to place new administrators and teachers in impossible situations. This principal needs our support. I would have expected an experienced principal for this assignment that includes two schools. This school has made 161 calls to the police since the beginning of the school year. Have you requested a complete breakdown of these calls? Have you asked how many of these kids have been suspended for their actions that resulted in these calls? This principal needs our support. I have no problem supporting the hiring of an additional SRO, but the WCCUSD needs to demonstrate that it can manage our schools with the utmost competency. As it is, YOU had to request the additional SRO. That is a_s backwards. They should have seen the problem and fixed it themselves. Honestly, Dan, I am losing confidence in this Superintendent. He doesn't run a tight ship. At least you are paying attention.
Giorgio C. January 24, 2013 at 01:27 PM
An SRO will help, but how about retaining principals and teachers? Inexperienced staff compromise the safety of our kids. The turnover in this district is so high that the HR Director is having difficulty calculating the rate. It is possibly the highest in the state. Recently, an inexperienced WCCUSD principal told a parent that there were no teachers trained to administer her child's Epi (epinephrine) pen in the event the child is suffering anaphylaxis. Last month, a Hercules High science teacher's experiment resulted in a fire and the summoning of the fire department. When I taught, we had a student die on campus from a gunshot received in a drive-by in front of the school. He might have had a chance if communication had been better. The paramedics wouldn't enter the area until they had been given the all-clear. It was a drive-by, with the perps being long gone. At the recent joint WCCUSD-Council meeting, the area director reported the Emergency Preparedness training staff are undergoing, including NIMS and SEMS. This involves sitting in front of a computer, learning acronyms and org charts up the wazoo, and then hitting the "print" button for your certificate. It is not a substitute for experienced, competent staff. I hope the Ed commission will review WCCUSD recruitment-retention-placement policies. I am attending the WCCUSD advisory committee tonight for some answers. All are invited. http://www.wccusd.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=107
Kim January 24, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Giorgio, I think it would be wise to have one principal for the middle school and one for the high school. What do you think?
Kim January 24, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Applaud to the student who made immediately report and the SRO took action. YES, Hercules Middle High School urgently need for another SRO on campus ASAP. We don’t want to see assignment only happen after injury or death.
Patty O'Day January 24, 2013 at 04:35 PM
It is obvious that there is a serious problem at Hercules Middle School. On another thread I asked for details of all the 161 times the police were called to the school since September. These children are in danger. They should absolutely have an SRO at Hercules Middle School. They should also NOT be sharing a principal. I have never heard of that. That is just plain stupid. Don't wait until somebody is killed.
Dan Romero January 24, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Patty, I will ask that the breakdown of the calls to the campus be published in the City Manager weekly report. The issue of whether there should be two principals at the two campuses will have to be discussed with the school district, which I will be glad to start. But to make a difference we need parent participation. If Hercules Middle/High has a parent association I would like to get their support and also hear from them as a group. I would agree that the principal for Hercules MId/High has a daunting job managing two campuses.
Patty O'Day January 24, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Dan Romero, Thanks for being the liason with the City Manager. I was at the City Council Meeting the other night when they were discussing the Education Commission. This could be a mission for them. The parent association should be involved for sure. I am not a parent, but I am a resident of Hercules and I care about the security and safety of our children.
Jeffrey Boore January 24, 2013 at 06:44 PM
I offer my kudos as well to the SRO and especially to the student who stepped up to report this. I would take issue, though, with a quick conclusion that this justifies having a second SRO or a second principal. I am not generally in favor of increasing the amounts that we spend on administrators at the expense of the classroom. Let's remember, too, that this was a BB gun and it wasn't even loaded. Frankly, arresting this kid and transporting him to the detention center for that "crime" seems a bit overblown to me. In times past, a stern warning about how this is inappropriate, along with the scare that must have been caused by the actions of the SRO, would have seemed sufficient, I would think.
Carol January 24, 2013 at 07:40 PM
@ Jeffrey - I disagree completely - with that many students (I think it is double the size of most campuses in the district - but maybe someone can confirm that) you most certainly need more resource officers - and the fact that he had any type of weapon means he was planning on using it in some fashion - even if just for intimidation. That is an excellent way for him to get shot by either a Police officer or another hoodlum who does not know its only a BB Gun. Why was he even on campus? No, I hope he had a nice time in the detention center. As for the two principals, my children do not attend there, so I cannot really comment on that but it seems like with that many students, it might be helpful. Remember it is a double campus. Kudos to Councilman Romero for being relentless in getting this brought to the school boards attention, thank you to the school board for acknowledging need for the additional officer, and Chief Goswick for all the numbers he compiled - because those facts helped get this done. The safety of the children is important!
Jeffrey Boore January 24, 2013 at 07:56 PM
I have no idea of why this kid had a BB gun. Maybe he is a nefarious trouble-maker who was on campus because he intended to intimidate someone. Maybe he was going home after joining friends at a makeshift range where they do target practice with BB guns and he was just carrying this as he took a shortcut across campus on his way home. If my kid had been handled so roughly and prosecuted so vigorously, and it turned out to be the latter possibility, I'd feel that was more than the situation called for. Wouldn't most people? All I'm saying is that I'm unwilling to jump to conclusions from what I know at this point. It is the jumping to conclusions that I'm arguing against, too, about the need for a second principal and SRO. I have no idea of whether those expenses are justified, but that should be based, I think, on a review of the overall situation, not an emotional reaction to a kid with an unloaded BB gun. I am certainly not arguing against the importance of the safety of our children, but there is a limit to what we can reasonably spend on that beyond the point where it is likely to do any good. To take it to ridiculous extreme by way of illustration, we could assign a police officer to each student as a bodyguard, but obviously, there is a limit to how reasonable such expenses are.
Patty O'Day January 24, 2013 at 08:31 PM
Jeffrey Boore, This conversation was started here a few days ago when it was reported that police had been called to Hercules Middle School on 161 occasions since the beginning of the school year in September. That is a lot of incidents for a middle school, in my opinion. It is obvious that this school has some behavior problems. We are awaiting information on the breakdown of the police calls, but in the previous thread it was reported there were 45 fights. I think that is a lot. People are responding about needing more resources based on that thread as well as this current one. Still need the breakout though.
Giorgio C. January 24, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Why did Dan request an SRO in September? His request was prior to the 161 calls. Was there a problem last year, too, or was Dan simply asking for what everyone else had, regardless of incident data?
John Loudermilk January 24, 2013 at 08:52 PM
The SRO as well as the child who shared the information handled this situation in a exemplary manner. If the SRO had not been a trained professional, we might be talking about the death of the suspect while carrying a weapon on a school ground. It makes no difference if the gun was loaded or not. A man with a gun on school grounds is a lethal threat! We need more SRO's, if we can spend millions on this school district, we can spend another million or two providing adequate security. There is no excuse, we owe it to our children. While my child does not attend that school, I do pay taxes to this school district and I want all our school children protected at any cost.
Carol January 24, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Giorgio - I do not know the answer to that question, but I bet Chief Goswick has the numbers. I am fairly certain we had two resource officers, and because of budget cuts, had to reduce to one, and that of course means a much higher potential for incidents. And as for Mr. Boore's comment above - I find it hard to believe that your child would carry a gun of any sort out in public. I am sure you have trained them better than that. Look at a few simple facts. 1) He was not a student and had no business being there. You cannot walk through that campus on your way "home". He was on campus, not in front of it. 2) I read he had no cartridge on him or pellets, so a reasonable person will conclude it was meant for intimidation, and not target practice with his buddies. 3) If he had not complied with the SRO, and he brandished that fake (real-looking) gun, the SRO would most likely have shot him, he would be dead, and imagine the uproar that would cause. Bottom line, he had no business being there in the first place, and there are no excuses for his behavior. He deserved what he got. He should feel lucky he was not killed in the process.
Susan D.Keeffe January 24, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Jeffrey, I may be wrong, but I believe this is a special Ed kid who needs lots of help. Akso, there are two vice principals at this site - one for each campus. The problem is the physical plant itself. There are shared facilities. Parents should get involved if there are serious safety issues . In fact, parents should be involved no matter what! Lastly, it's always good to get all the facts without rushing to judgment. i applaud your reasoned thinking.
Carol January 24, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Susan -I googled his name and found his facebook page check it out....especially his "headmaster" comment - "pimpin hoes &' slapinq b*&^%ess" (had to edit that for content)t, if that is a special needs kids, I would be surprised. Sounds like a real upstanding citizen - a real class act.....
Susan D.Keeffe January 24, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Carol, You are judging with no knowledge of the facts. There is confidentiality involved but Brandon is not as you are depicting him. Far from it.. It's a good thing he was not shot or there would be a huge mess.
Susan D.Keeffe January 24, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Carol, I understand. I just can't say more publicly other than to repeat things are not as they seem. All I'm saying is we don't want a mob mentality . He's in a safe place right now and the authorities will handle it.
Jeffrey Boore January 24, 2013 at 09:44 PM
@John Loudermilk - I agree with some of what you say, but want to make two comments in rebuttal. First, you say, "A man with a gun on school grounds is a lethal threat!" I have personally been shot with a BB gun as a youngster dozens of times and I can confirm from that personal experience that they are NOT a "lethal threat." Secondly, you say, "I want all our school children protected at any cost." I am sure that you don't really mean that - Would you support spending $150,000 per student for a private, professional bodyguard? Of course not. I'm not making that exaggeration for the purpose of ridicule, but rather to point out that where to draw that line of what amount of expense is reasonable is really the issue, and no one thinks that "any cost" would really be reasonable.
Jeffrey Boore January 24, 2013 at 09:48 PM
@Carol - I see the reasons why you draw those conclusions, but I still think that you are rushing to judgment and being pretty harsh. A lot of 19 year olds make mistakes. A lot of them don't come off as "class acts" on Facebook. I agree that there was potential for him to have been killed, and I'm happy that tragedy was averted. That is one more reason for applause of the SRO who handled this.
John Loudermilk January 24, 2013 at 10:16 PM
A person with a gun on school grounds is a lethal threat. It makes no difference what kind of gun or even if its loaded. People are frequently shot by police because of a perceived threat and the suspects failure to follow the directions the police give. I hope this case is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Finally, no expense is too great to not provide security and a safe environment for my child. How you feel about your own child is your business.
Jeffrey Boore January 24, 2013 at 11:41 PM
So, John Loudermilk, are you saying that you would, indeed, vote "yes" for a ballot measure that increased school expenditures by 15-fold without a dime going into the classrooms in order to provide a bodyguard to every student, or are you simply exaggerating when you say that "NO expense is too great"? Secondly, he was a "lethal threat" only if he was capable with that weapon of delivering, himself, deadly force. Is that not obvious?
Marcia Kalapus January 25, 2013 at 01:04 AM
Mr.Romero Arn't you one of the city council people? Is this type of one on one communication with the public regarding a matter that probably should be discussed as "new agenda" item with the whole council? It would seem that you are acting alone with your suggestions and maybe this type of a serious matter should maybe be a joint agreement. It is okay to listen to concerns but seems that this should be a council issue. Just food for thought....
John Loudermilk January 25, 2013 at 03:17 AM
I will not put a price on my child's safety. Since you feel the need to put a price on it, vote for whatever floats your boat.
John Loudermilk January 25, 2013 at 03:31 AM
He is extremely lucky to be in county jail vs the morgue. He could have easily been shot and or killed and innocent people could have been injured and or killed. Who knows what his intent was.... The fact is he carried a gun on school grounds. The police will eliminate any perceived threat real or not. They do not have the luxury of time to decide, they do what it takes to eliminate the threat.
Giorgio C. January 25, 2013 at 06:22 AM
Kim, I think each and every school needs a leader. I say this with respect to the delegation of authority, the chain-of-command, and the recognition of a symbolic leader. An assistant principal is not a true leader. I apologize to the Hercules Middle School Assistant Principal, but their job title says it all. Yes, this school should have its own principal.
Giorgio C. January 25, 2013 at 03:44 PM
This is a very good discussion by everyone here. This one incident needs to be viewed rationally and objectively. It is possible we were primed to respond in a very big way with the backdrop of the 161 calls to the PD. A teen with an unloaded bb gun. Maybe a special ed individual who needs help. This school recently had some of the lowest test scores for students with disabilities, so if this is a factor, this needs to be reviewed, too. The kids we lose today often become a problem at a later date. Maybe this is someone affiliated with a gang? Was the red hat a gang color? Maybe a combination of the two--I witnessed this often when teaching--special ed kids that lost their way to gangs. A tragic and sometimes dangerous combination. No single incident should warrant the need for an additional SRO. Is this incident part of a bigger problem? Our police chief mentioned some gang activity at this school site. Is this incident related to gang activity? Are some (most) of the 161 calls indicators of a serious problem--gangs, racial tension, etc.? I guess all we can do now is wait for the facts before decisions are made on how to proceed.
Giorgio C. January 25, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Thanks, Susan. I was only throwing all possibilities out there. Many 19 year olds have not yet matured into adults. Thanks for doing your part to make sure this is handled appropriately. How we react to such situations defines who we are as a community.
Leanne wrigjt January 27, 2013 at 10:16 PM
What is wrong with all of you? ANY type of weapon is a threat. This man (not kid...he is over 18) had no business whatsoever being on the school campus. I am a parent from Ohlone who seems to be one of a small group who seems to believe that we should be taking this waaaaay more seriously than we are currently. Thank you Dan Romero for being such an amazing advocate for our children. We also have a new principal at Ohlone who I think is not doing a very good job so far. We need more SRO's, more aides and hall monitors and more parents who will commit to being part of the solution and stop complaining about what needs to be done or changed,if all you are going to do is watch from the sidelines and continue to be a part of the problem, and not helping to fix it.
Jeffrey Boore January 27, 2013 at 11:15 PM
A BB gun is not a weapon. It is a toy that is shaped like a weapon. You could injure someone with it, I suppose, if you held it to his or her eye when you fired it, but that is true of a rubber band as well, which most of us would not classify as a weapon.


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