An 18-year-old Evanston Township High School student has been charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon after school officials say they found an unloaded handgun in his backpack.

Police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan says the gun, an unloaded Walther P38 semi-automatic handgun, was discovered about 9:20 this morning by school officials. The police school resource officer assigned to ETHS took the student, identified as Martz R. Hill, of 605 Case Place, into custody.

In addition to the felony, he’s also been charged with a misdemeanor for not having a valid firearm owners identification card.

In an email to parents, School Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said no ammunition was found with the gun and that school officials have no knowledge of any threat or any danger to students or staff in connection with the incident.

He urged parents to encourage their students to report any suspicious activity to school officials or use the anonymous Text-A-Tip message service.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. No one could foresee this situation….

    … except anyone paying attention.

    Perhaps outside suspension for weapons, fighting, and threats shoud be back on the table.

    ETHS Discipline committee report to board:

    • "The meeting began with a report on current conditions, with deans reporting that bickering on social media and theft of electronics are continuing concerns, and that there has been an increase in weapons (knives, stun guns, pellet guns) in the building. The top reasons for inside suspension are: weapons, drugs, fighting, and verbal threats. In the past, most of these students would have been put in out-of-school suspension. Mr. Clark emphasized the need for more teachers to cooperate in sending classwork to students in the alternative learning center (inside suspension) or it can’t serve its purpose."


    1. Foreseeable?
      How do you know that this student was likely to bring a weapon to school? Are you running an un-licensed Astrology shop in Evanston?

      Did the story indicate that the young man had a history of violent or criminal acts, or is the only pre-existing condition to cause alarm the color of his skin? His failure to bring ammunition for his gun gives credence to the idea that he is not a regular gun-toater.

      In-School suspension is absolutely the right punishment for this young man or any other severe disruptions that do not require incarceration. If someone is such a threat to the school community that they cannot be in school, they should be at 26th & Cal. If they need redirection, a closed room at ETHS is the place for them, not cruising around town with a day off of school.

  2. He did nothing wrong
    He was a fine young man with a promising future who committed no wrongs. He planned to attend college, and enjoyed church services with his grandmother every weekend. To prevent events like this from occurring in the future, additional funds should be allocated for social programs that serve vulnerable populations.

    1. arrest
      I wouldn’t say that he did nothing wrong. Guns, other weapons, drugs, etc. cannon be on school property, or be within a certain radius of a school. Did he have bad judgement or NOT know that? Maybe he brought the unloaded weapon to show it off, or to sell it to someone…..I’m sure he had no criminal intent here…..
      And I’m sure there are fliers, info packets, etc. that go out to students, parents, etc. at the beginning of every school year, as to rules, policies, etc. He made a dumb mistake, and now has it on his record. THAT’S the wrong he committed.

    2. What took so long ?
      I expect that five minutes after the story, someone would pull the “fine young person, apple of his mother’s eye, church every Sunday and prayer meeting, tutored children, studied micro-biology in spare time and working on cure for cancer,…” Victim of society
      Give us a break.

      1. Allocate additional funds for programs
        You forgot that he loved his grandmother, was an aspiring rapper, and that this only goes to show that there are insufficient financial resources for programs that serve target populations.

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