Officials say recent Doss parking lot arrest may have been unwarranted


by Jacob Ryan

Posted on September 26, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 26 at 7:41 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)-- A recent arrest at Doss High School on September 25 after police responded to an armed man in the parking lot has officials questioning if the subject’s actions were, in fact, illegal.

According to a police report, LMPD found Tyler Abshire, 18, sitting in a car with a gun resting between the driver’s seat and the center console of the vehicle.  Police and school officials did not believe Abshire intended to hurt anyone, though he was still arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon on school property.

Attorney Kent Wicker said Abshire did not violate Kentucky statute KRS 527.070, which forbids a person from having a gun on school property.

“He wasn’t breaking this law,” Wicker said.  “It appears that he had the gun in his car, he didn’t take it out, he didn’t brandish it inside the car or outside the car, he didn’t bring it into the building.”

Wicker cited exceptions to the statute that put Abshire in the clear, in this case.

“If you’re an adult you’re allowed to keep the gun in your car, in the parking lot, as long as you don’t bring it out or brandish it or take it out of the car,” he said.

Judge Donald E. Armstrong Jr. said he released Abshire from custody due to the lack of criminal history and the fact that Abshire appeared to be a very low risk.

“The old lawyer in me came out and said, ‘he may have a defense to this,” Judge Armstrong said.

He said the report that Abshire was sitting in a car, not brandishing the weapon, did have some play in his decision making process.

LMPD reports that Abshire did not arrive at Doss High School in the car he was found in, but instead brought the gun onto school property as he was headed to the vehicle, though nothing about this is written in the official police report.

If that statement is true, however, Abshire would have indeed broken the law.

Wicker said there are specific rules to having a gun on school grounds.

“It shouldn’t be anywhere other than a car,” he said.  “You can’t carry it around in a holster and walk around the parking lot just because you’re close to car.”