A Kingsport man who teaches at a vocational school in Abingdon, Va., has been arrested after allegedly pulling a blank firing gun on his students, pointing it their direction and firing multiple times.
The incident occurred April 4 at William H. Neff Center. Manuael Ernest Dillow, 60, of 840 Liberty Drive, Kingsport, was arrested Wednesday for the alleged incident and charged with 12 felony counts of brandishing a firearm on school property.
The Washington County Sheriffs Office reports the charges are class 6 felonies, with each count punishable up to five years incarceration and a $2,500 fine.
Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman reports School Superintendent Jim Sullivan notified the Sheriff’s Office of the incident. An investigation reportedly discovered Dillow “gathered” the attention of the 12 students in his welding class and lined them up near a garage door in the shop.
“He then pulled a ‘blank firing handgun,’ black in color, from the back waistband of his pants and discharged the weapon between four and ten shots in the direction of the line of the students,” states a Wednesday afternoon press release. “The ‘report’ of the firearm was similar to that of a firearm that fires a projectile, thus placing the students in fear, according to statements. No students were physically injured as a result of the incident.”
Dillow was released on a $20,000 unsecured bond with a hearing date scheduled for May 7.