Man arrested with BB gun near Kent high school

Police also called to Roosevelt for suspicious packages report

By Kyle McDonald and Thomas Gallick | Staff Writers Published:

Two incidents in as many days caused a bit of a stir at Theodore Roosevelt High School this week.

On Monday, a Kent resident possessing a BB gun was arrested and charged for inducing panic after police responded to calls of a man waving a gun near the school.

On Tuesday, police were called to the school to investigate suspicious packages wrapped like Christmas presents that were left near the trash.

Kent Police Lt. James Prusha said calls were made to the department around 2:40 p.m. Monday, with witnesses reporting that Todd J. Hyde, 19, of 1528 Benjamin Court, was allegedly waving a gun while walking on North Mantua Street near Needham Avenue. When Hyde was stopped, police discovered it was a handgun-size, air-powered BB gun.

"The officer who stopped him said that even looking from the shortest distance you wouldn't know it was a BB gun until you were right up on it," Prusha said.

According to Prusha, Hyde said the air gun's magazine had come loose, at which point he took it out of his pocket to put the magazine back on.

"Witness statements said he was showing it more than he needed to, and some said he was pointing it at people," Prusha said.

Hyde is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning in Portage County Municipal Court.

Prusha said although it is not illegal to carry a BB gun in Kent, Hyde's location and timing -- being near Roosevelt around the time school lets out -- influenced officers' decision to issue the charge.

In Tuesday's incident, Kent Police Capt. Paul Canfield said his department received a call at about 7:30 a.m. from an employee at Roosevelt reporting suspicious boxes. After a matter of minutes, police determined the boxes were props in a play, and not a danger to students or staff at the school.

He said because the officers were able to quickly ascertain the items were not dangerous, the department did not call in a bomb squad or any other special assistance.

Superintendent Joe Giancola said the props were used the night before at a holiday-themed concert and left out with other trash from the event.

"(The boxes) were left out front to be picked up as garbage," Giancola said. "Since one of our administrators was not aware that they were intentionally left out front, he went through all the normal procedures of our policy and contacted the police"

Giancola said high school staff shut down the front auditorium entrance briefly at the start of the school day, leading students into the back cafeteria entrance while the police wrapped up their investigation. He described the incident as a "very minor" interruption to the school day.

"We treat everything very seriously until we know otherwise," Giancola said.

Contact these reporters at 330-298-1127, 330-298-1126, kmcdonald@recordpub.com or tgallick@recordpub.com

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