A Columbus East High School teacher who was suspended by Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. last week after being accused of having a hunting rifle in his truck in the school parking lot will not face criminal charges.
Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash said he reviewed the Columbus Police Department report about the rifle found in teacher Mike Metz’s truck Thursday and concluded the circumstances described in the report would not lead to a conviction because he could not prove Metz knowingly, intentionally or recklessly left the rifle in the truck.
“We would have to prove it wasn’t an accident or a mistake that the gun was left in the truck,” Nash said. “The question is, did he even know he brought the gun to school property?”
Metz, who has worked for BCSC as a workplace specialist in different construction technology trades since 2006, told police he had been coyote hunting and mistakenly left the gun in his pickup when he went to work at East on Thursday. At the scene, Metz took responsibility for making a mistake of leaving the gun in the truck, school officials said.
The incident began at 8:49 a.m. Thursday when two students reported that what appeared to be a rifle was in plain view on a passenger seat in Metz’s truck, which was parked in the teacher’s parking lot near the C4 classrooms at East, police said.
Nash released the Columbus police reports about the incident which said Columbus Police Officer Richard Howell went to the parking lot on the north side of the school at the request of school resource officer Julie Quesenbery.
Howell was on a special patrol at East when the call came in to police, and Quesenbery said in her report she asked for help to determine if any officers were closer than she was to the truck.
The officer found East Dean David Miller and Metz near the teacher’s tan pickup truck, which was parked between other vehicles at the parking lot next to the C4 Careers Wing.
Miller reported that Metz was very apologetic and stated he understood how this could upset people due to the recent events involving a Florida school shooting and several incidents at local schools involving school threats, including two at Columbus East.
For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.