Seffner, FL – A Hillsborough County school resource officer was caught carrying a pellet gun on duty at an elementary school after he pawned his service weapon and other police equipment.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told reporters at a press conference on Dec. 6 that 36-year-old Hillsborough County School Resource Officer Leroy King was caught when a supervisor stopped by Mango Elementary School to do a random check, WFLA reported.
Sheriff Chronister said the supervisor immediately noticed that SRO King was carrying a pellet gun instead of his duty weapon in his holster.
The sheriff said SRO King was asked about his service weapon and made up “several different stories” about where the gun was, according to WFLA.
At that point, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into what was going on and SRO King ultimately confessed that he had pawned the weapon, WTVT reported.
The sheriff’s department said the school resource officer had also pawned his assigned ballistic vest and weapon-mounted light.
"It wasn't being fixed. It wasn't broken. It wasn't left someplace where he was taking target and shooting practice," Sheriff Chronister said. "He had pawned that school security issued firearm... assigned to him to protect the children at Mango Elementary."
He said that SRO King had pawned the gun and other items at least six times between the start of school and the end of November, WTVT reported.
Sheriff Chronister was visibly angry as he addressed reporters.
"He was charged with the duty of protecting our most valuable and precious resource, and that's our children," the sheriff said. "As a parent, I am disgusted that we have an individual that we have spent time training, that our school security system spent time hiring, with one sole purpose, and that sole purpose was protecting our young people."
SRO King has been charged with eight counts of giving false information to a pawnbroker, according to WTVT.