Santana High over-reacts to gun

CHP patrolman arrested for weapon in fanny pack

On January 15, 2015 retied California Highway Patrolman Robert Pitt dropped his girlfriend's daughter off at Santana High School in Santee.

The gun he carried was in his fanny pack when he went into the office to speak to the principal about an issue with the girl.

Inside Pitt placed his fanny pack down on the counter. The heavy thud prompted the principal to ask if Pitt was carrying a gun.

He said he was. He told the principal he had a concealed weapons permit. He was allowed to carry a gun onto school grounds because he was a former law enforcement officer.

But the principal, Tim Schwuchow, directed a sheriff's deputy to arrest Pitt for carrying a weapon on school property.

Nearly 14 years prior Santana High School student, Charles Andrew Williams, shot and killed two classmates and wounded a dozen others.

Pitt was arrested. He spent several hours in jail. The district attorney did not file any charges against Pitt.

But Pitt did file a lawsuit in federal court. He sued the County of San Diego for false arrest by the Sheriff's Department.

In September, according to public records, the county paid Pitt $220,000 to settle the lawsuit out of court.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader

Comments

Tim Schwuchow is typical of idiot school administrators.

I have to quibble about the sub-headline. In the text of the story, Pitt is described as a retired CHP officer, and as such he wasn't a "patrolman" any longer.

But was Pitt, for all the annoyance and inconvenience of being arrested, damaged to the tune of $220K? Any retired cop has a nice income for life, and this incident did nothing to jeopardize that. He was dumb to take the handgun into the school and then bang it down onto a counter. If he couldn't keep the fanny pack on his waist for a few minutes, it should have stayed locked in his car. So, this is just another case of a waste of tax dollars, dollars that cannot be used to repair streets and fund worthy programs. Don't these cases get tiresome? They sure do for me.

Final comment: who did the deputy work for? The county or the school? He need not have followed the instructions of the principal, and could have declined to make an arrest. In fact, I find this all rather hard to believe, with one cop arresting a fellow (former) cop when the offense wasn't clear at all.

Every retired law enforcement is allowed to carry a weapon provided he meets the requirements of the law. He is the very kind of person you would want to have with a gun. He has been trained in how and when to use a firearm. He has to continue to be proficient and up to speed.

He was "trained" decades ago. He has to meet some minimal qualification every few years to keep his permit. Meanwhile, he puts on his pants one leg at a time like everyone else. He's just as prone to getting angry, drunk, senile, whatever. There is absolutely no reason for him to have any special privileges not afforded to any law-abiding citizen who meets the same criteria.

I am a student at Santana, and I am not just some ignorant teenager who needs to learn something about ethics. Sure our principal did overreact, but people tend to do that when they're scared. Most of us are afraid that we'll be gunned down at any given second, most of us have had multiple panic and anxiety attacks(which should be taken very seriously), and most of us skipped school when we heard about the threat to SHS. When Mr. Shwuchow found out about the gun, his first thought wasn't "I'm gonna get this guy arrested just for the heck of it", he thought about the safety of his students above all else. The deaths of the 2001 victims left holes in many hearts, even people who never even knew them. People tend to overreact when they're scared. Try to think about the people in the situation.

It was legal to carry concealed in a K-12 school, statewide at the time of the incident. Lawsuit justified

Times sure have changed. This is off topic, but worth thinking about. When I was in high school in the mid-1970’s, I was an ROTC cadet. As part of our "coursework," we visited local firing ranges and trained with .22 rifles. Every summer we spent 4-days at Camp Pendleton firing M-16’s. These are kids from 14 to 18 years old. The ROTC building on the high school campus had an armory filled with about 100 used M-14 rifles. The only thing missing was bayonets and firing pins. We had magazine with no ammo. The rifles were used in training on how to disassemble and reassemble the weapon. They were used for Drill Team and Color Guard. They were locked up in a room that had a metal cage inside, but by today’s standard would be easy to breach. I often wonder if there had been a crazed person at that time, they could have snuck in some firing pins and ammo and had a whole arsenal inside the campus.

What's good for me is good for thee.

If schools are supposed to be "gun-free zones", why should anyone but an on-duty peace officer carry? If it's OK for a retiree to carry his gun around and thud it down on a table, why can't I? And that's begging the question of why this guy gets to be a "supercitizen" in San Diego, when pretty much everyone else is precluded from being able to defend themselves anywhere but their own home or business?

One of the reasons given for allowing retired cops to have concealed carry privileges is that they are very well trained and seasoned, and can be relied upon to use their firearms wisely when they see serious crime being committed. In other words, they are about the same as off-duty cops, and can back up the on-duty cops and prevent crimes or prevent criminals from escaping. All that being said, with the record of on-duty cops misusing their firearms, and the aging process of the retirees, can they be counted on to do the right thing? I think it all depends upon the cop in question.

Log in to comment

Skip Ad
Close

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader