Vt. police take weapon from teacher after comments
The Associated Press | January 04,2013
BENNINGTON — A Bennington high school teacher is hospitalized following a mental health evaluation that came after he was spotted carrying the same kind of assault rifle used in last month’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and making a series of comments about the school where he works that some found disturbing, police said.
Steven Davis, a longtime science and math teacher at Mount Anthony Union High School, voluntarily went to the hospital on Monday after neighbors asked police to do a welfare check because he was spotted carrying the rifle to his car, said Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette. In addition to the rifle, a Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle, police recovered about 500 rounds of ammunition and two magazines. The rifle had apparently never been fired, Doucette said.
“This weapon was in a case. It has a trigger lock installed, but it was alarming to find two, 30-round, high-capacity magazines loaded,” Doucette said.
Davis told police he was going to take the weapon to a storage unit.
After the welfare check Sunday, Davis’ wife and children went to stay with a relative, the Bennington Banner reports. On Monday, she sought a restraining order. In the order, his wife said she was unaware that Davis owned a gun and she had noticed a change in Davis’ personality over the last month.
On Monday morning, Davis began posting videos that criticized school administrators, the teachers union and co-workers, among a slew of other topics. Davis also sent a schoolwide email saying he would “remove the union and all of the teachers who are negatively affecting the children in this town.”
“We were getting inundated with telephone calls from school teachers because he was sending out emails. He was posting stuff on Facebook and it became disturbing to some people,” Doucette said.
In a phone message Davis left at The Bennington Banner on Wednesday, Davis said he did not intend to harm others.
“A very bad man recently used a similar rifle to hurt lots of boys and girls. Right now some people think I am like that bad man. I am not anything like that bad man,” he said.