Olivia Hitchcock The Palm Beach Post, Fla.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — When Christopher Freeman’s son FaceTimed him in tears Monday afternoon from school, the 27-year-old father knew something was wrong.
The boy told Freeman that a teacher at Bear Lakes Middle School had “slammed him,” according to Freeman’s statement to Palm Beach County School District police, and while they were on the video call, Freeman saw an adult grab the boy.
The phone went flying and the call ended, so Freeman hurried to the school on Shenandoah Boulevard, forgetting that he had a pistol version of an AK-47 rifle tucked in his pants, he said.
School district police arrested Freeman, who lives outside the city limits, on charges of aggravated assault, possessing a weapon on school property and disturbing the peace. A judge ordered he be held in the Palm Beach County Jail on a $75,000 bond. If Freeman is released, he cannot have contact with any Palm Beach County schools and will be on in-house arrest.
An administrator who spoke with Freeman on the phone before he arrived at the school warned a school officer that the father was upset. The arrest report is vague as to why school staff had been talking to the boy.
The school district would not comment on anything involving Freeman’s son. A woman who answered a call to a telephone number listed as Freeman’s said Freeman’s boy is doing OK. As far was Freeman’s arrest, she said, “We have no comment on that at this time.”
An officer noticed Freeman, who uses a wheelchair, outside the front office shortly before 4 p.m.
“I want to see the guy who slammed my son. I’ve got something for him,” Freeman reportedly said. “You’re going to need more than what you’ve got because of what I’ve got.”
The officer noticed “what looked like the handle of a handgun” sticking out of Freeman’s pants.
The officer put the school on a code-red lockdown, meaning no one could enter the building and no one inside could move from their classrooms, and called for backup when Freeman resisted the officer’s attempts to search him.
Police found a loaded AK-47 pistol Mini Draco with an extended magazine, which appeared to be fully loaded with 30 rounds, on him. One round was in the chamber, according to police records.
Freeman told officers he keeps the gun with him for protection, adding that he never intended to use it to hurt anyone at the school.
Principal Kirk Howell said in a telephone call to Bear Lakes Middle parents Monday afternoon that “the parent never brandished the gun or threatened the office staff with it at any time.”
Court records indicate Freeman is facing weapons- and drug-related charges stemming from a February 2018 traffic stop during which he told Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies he had guns, for which he said he had permits to carry, in his car. He is scheduled to go to trial in that case next month.
In November, a Bear Lakes Middle teacher was removed from his classroom after a reported altercation with a student and later was arrested on a charge of child abuse. Dennis Hall’s case remains before the courts.
©2019 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)