'No good deed goes unpunished': Heartbroken ex-marine lashes out after his son, 16, is CHARGED with felony weapon possession for taking gun away from suicidal friend at school
The father of a Florida teenager facing a felony weapon possession charge for taking a gun off his suicidal friend at school said he was 'heartbroken' by the state's decision to charge his son.
William Caldwell, 16, was arrested at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida, on Tuesday for bringing a firearm to school property.
The charge is a third degree felony which carries a maximum jail term of five years if William is tried as an adult, a decision which is due to be made by a judge on Friday.
William took the gun off his friend on February 3 after he threatened to kill himself on campus. He took it home with him for the weekend then brought it back to school on Tuesday, February 7, with an empty chamber to return to the boy.
Another girl who knew of the suicide plot told staff William not had the gun and he was arrested after showing police the weapon in his backpack.
William's ex-marine father Jeff spoke briefly on Thursday to confirm that his son had been released from custody but said he was devastated by the state's decision to move forward with the case.
'No good deed goes unpunished,' he told DailyMail.com, adding that William was a 'good kid' who was trying to make sure no one got hurt when confiscated the gun.
Jeff Caldwell said he was 'heartbroken' the state had decided to prosecute his 16-year-old son William (left together when he was younger and right more recently) with felony weapons possession after he took a gun from a suicidal friend at school to stop him from hurting himself
'William is a good kid of strong moral values. He is well regarded by his peers and adults that know him.
'His intent was to get no one in trouble,' Mr Caldwell, who works at the Navy's Puget Sound Shipyard in Washington, said.
His mother, Michele, said he was 'very scared'. The family is waiting to find out whether he will be tried as an adult or minor.
She said the boy he was trying to protect is safe and that he and his parents are 'very concerned' that William could be punished for stepping in.
The boy was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation after the incident and is not facing any charges.
Police arrested the teenager after a female student told staff she knew he had the weapon on Tuesday.
She too knew about the suicidal boy's plan to kill himself and said he'd shown her his weapon in their first period class.
School police hauled William out of class and took him to be questioned where he immediately admitted to having the gun, opening up his backpack to show them the weapon.
In a report obtained by DailyMail.com, officers recalled how he told them that he took the weapon off the suicidal boy during sixth period, near the end of the day.
William was arrested at the Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida, on Tuesday where he told police he had the gun with him and showed it to them
William had taken the silver and black handgun (similar to one shown above) off of his suicidal friend the previous week. He planned to return it to him with the chamber empty when he was arrested
'Caldwell began to spontaneously state that (the other boy) told him at the beginning of school on February 3, 2017, that he had a gun with him and planned on killing himself before school started.
'Caldwell said that when he saw him during sixth period, he took the gun's magazine and then he took the gun away from him.'
He had taken the gun home with him for the weekend and left it there until Tuesday when he brought it back to campus.
The suicidal boy corroborated the account, telling officers that he had brought it to school and planned to kill himself but didn't want to harm anyone else.
He was take for a mental health evaluation, the outcome of which is not clear.
Pensacola Police Department would not answer any questions on the case on Thursday, telling DailyMail.com it was staying quiet while the investigation continued.
The school also refused to comment, deferring questions instead to the school district's deputy superintendent who was not immediately available.
William's mother mother Michele said his first court appearance 'didn't go well'.
The family are church-going and have at least one other son, Carson. The state's attorney did not respond to requests for information about the case on Thursday morning.
William, who was released from Escambia County Jail and is now at home, is next due to appear in court on Friday.
He has been suspended from school for 10 days as per Florida's zero tolerance policy against guns on campus.
If you or anyone you know is seeking confidential support, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
William was taken to Escambia County Jail after his arrest on Tuesday but has since been released while he awaits his next appearance in juvenile court