After some jarring statements by prosecutors at Tuesday’s bond hearing for Alwin Chen, the Clarksburg student who brought a loaded gun to school last Thursday, the Montgomery County Police Department has released a list of items which were found in the Chen’s home in Germantown.
The release from MCPD stated, “Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department’s Firearms Investigations Unit continue to investigate the February 15 incident involving 18-year-old Alwin Chen of the 11700 block of Gunners Drive in Germantown possessing a handgun at Clarksburg High School.”
“As part of this process, detectives applied for and were granted a search warrant for Chen’s home. On the evening of February 15, detectives searched Chen’s residence. Evidence, to include the following items, were seized from Chen’s home:
-- Two rifles
-- A shotgun
-- Two handguns
-- Inert (replica) grenades
-- A ballistic vest
-- A replica electrical firing device (referred to as a clacker)
The police department’s release went on to state:
“Regarding the above seized items, it should be noted that:
-- Detectives are working to confirm ownership of the seized guns. At this time, there is no indication that any of the guns were stolen. There is no indication that the guns belong to anyone other than household members.
-- There were no explosives recovered in the home.
-- Investigators from the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office examined the inert grenades and clacker and determined them to be replicas.
-- Detectives have reviewed the contents of Chen’s journal. There is no wording regarding any threat nor any expression of wanting to cause harm to anyone at the school in this journal.
-- Chen’s motive for bringing a gun to school remains under investigation.”
Clarksburg High School Principal Edward Owusu sent a letter to parents Tuesday evening in an attempt to calm parents fears after various news media, including Germantown Pulse reported that a “list of grievances” and “grenades” were found at Chen’s home by police.
In the letter, Owusu wrote, “This afternoon, we heard in news media reports that, during their search of the student’s home, the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) discovered additional weapons and list of grievances that may have included names. We have reached out to MCPD and they have shared that this information is inaccurate. In its press release MCPD states, ‘There is no wording regarding any threat nor any expression of wanting to cause harm to anyone at the school in this journal’ in the documents discovered.”
“We know this situation has created heightened anxiety and concern among our students and families. To help support students, we will continue do have outside counselors, Pupil Personnel Workers, and school psychologists available all day to speak with students about their concerns,” wrote Owusu.
The story of Chen’s arrest began just prior to 2:00 pm on Thursday, Feb. 15, the School Resource Officer assigned to and working at Clarksburg High School, received information that Chen might have brought a gun to school, said police.
According to police, school security, accompanied by School Resource Officer Troy Melott, went to Chen’s classroom. A school security employee entered the classroom and informed Chen that he needed to speak to Chen. The SRO and the employee walked Chen to a school office.
Once inside the school office, the Officer Melott asked Chen if he had a weapon on his person, to which Chen replied that he had a handgun in his book bag and a knife in his front, shirt pocket. At approximately 2:20 pm, the SRO recovered a loaded, 9mm handgun from Chen’s book bag and placed Chen under arrest. The SRO also retrieved the knife from Chen’s pocket.
According to the charging documents, “Chen mentioned that on previous occasions he had felt anxious from social interactions between himself and students.”
Chen is being held without bond by order of Montgomery County Judge John C. Moffett. This remains an ongoing investigation and detectives continue to work with the State’s Attorney’s Office and Montgomery County Public Schools. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Firearms Investigations Unit at 240.773.6400.
File photos by Germantown Pulse. Photos courtesy MCPD