Imitation Gun on Car at School Prompts Police Response in Bethesda

Imitation Gun on Car at School Prompts Police Response in Bethesda

Vehicle drove up to school, then left without stopping

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Montgomery County police are not sure why someone drove up to a Bethesda school with an imitation gun on a car hood Monday morning, then immediately drove away.

The person who reported the incident, though, only told police that she saw what appeared to be a handgun on a car at Thomas W. Pyle Middle School.

It wasn’t until later, when police reviewed surveillance video, that they saw an orange tip on the gun, as required by law to indicate that it is an imitation. The gun also had an orange handle.

Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti said police investigated the call, which came in at about 8 a.m., and didn’t find the car, driver or gun.

She said the person who reported it noticed the gun on the hood of a silver four-door vehicle behind her in traffic on Wilson Lane at Whittier Boulevard, near the school.

The vehicle went into the school parking lot, at the student dropoff area, then exited the parking lot.

The car’s video surveillance video did not record the license plate.

Innocenti said an officer went to the school to take a report. An officer also was at the school as a precaution when school dismissed on Monday. Police were expected to be at the school again on Tuesday.

School Principal Chris Nardi shared brief details of what happened in a letter to parents and guardians on Monday afternoon.

“A suspicious vehicle drove through our drop off lane, stopping several times, with a suspicious item on its hood that was a toy gun,” the letter says. “We immediately notified the MCPS Department of School Safety and Security and the Montgomery County Police Department. We had an MCPD officer here at dismissal out of an abundance of caution.”

Innocenti said police would like to hear from anyone with more information about what happened at the school. They can call police at 240-773-6700.

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