Bond set for Grady student who shot herself

A judge set bond Thursday for a Grady High School student who accidentally shot herself in the thigh on school grounds.

In a hearing at the Fulton County jail, Magistrate Judge Jessy Lall set bond at $41,000 for Morgan Tukes, who is charged with a felony — possession of a pistol by a minor — and three misdemeanors: carrying a weapon within a school safety zone, reckless conduct and disruption of a public school.

Fulton County sheriff’s spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said Tukes, a 17-year-old senior, would be released Thursday afternoon.

Tukes said little during the hearing, responding “Yes Ma’am” to questions from Lall, who scheduled her next hearing for March 14 in Fulton County Superior Court.

Lall ordered Tukes to stay 100 yards away from the Grady High campus, forbid her from possessing a firearm and forbid firearms in the house where she’s staying.

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Grady High officials learned of the shooting when Tukes walked into the school clinic, bleeding, around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Atlanta City School Superintendent Erroll Davis said the girl was late for class and was let into the Midtown school’s gymnasium by two other students.

While Davis noted Tukes told administrators she did not pass through the school’s metal detectors with the weapon — a pink .380-caliber handgun — parents expressed concern that a firearm had still been carried onto the campus.

“It’s ridiculous that something like this could happen,” parent Brunilda Nazario said.

According to several students interviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the metal detectors are functioning but are not closely monitored. For example, students are not required to remove rings or belts when passing through the detectors.

The assistant principal — not law enforcement — supervises the screening process, Davis said, adding they prefer placing school resource officers elsewhere.

“Our schools were not designed to be fortresses,” he said. “They were designed to be places of learning.”

Senior Imani Stanard said, “It’s not that hard to get anything into Grady.”

“Teachers do the searching but they don’t want to,” she said. “They’re here to teach, not to search students.”

Grady High remained on lockdown until noon. Parents were allowed to check their children out of school for the day, and about three dozen had done so by late morning.

Freshman Morgan Pass, a friend and track teammate of Tukes, said the incident was out of character.

“It was really unexpected,” she said. “I don’t know why she brought the gun to school. She’s goofy and funny. She’s not a rebel, but it’s her senior year and she wants to act loud.”

Dimanche Crutcher said she was talking to son on the phone while the school was on lockdown: “He seemed like he was shaken up a bit. They’re a little rowdy inside the building. The kids are more like ‘I’m ready to get out.’ It sounded like chaos inside.”

Police don’t know why the teen brought the handgun — which was recovered by investigators — to the school. Tukes accidentally shot herself in the courtyard area near the parking lots, police said.

“Was this an actual student and did the administration know of any threat?” parent Stephanie Polk asked. “When it finally hits home, it makes us aware that it can happen here.”

School officials notified students over the intercom that a student had accidentally shot herself. Parents were notified via robocalls soon after.

“Just walking around in school you never know what’s going to happen,” said student Exevian Crutcher, who saw the girl being rushed into an office and saw her bleeding from the leg. “People were traumatized by the fact that there was a gun [on campus] and everyone just wanted to get out.”

Nikki Turner said her daughter, a ninth-grader, told her by phone that she didn’t know what had happened but felt safe.

“On one hand you can say gun control isn’t what it should be, but I don’t know if there’s any solution,” she said.

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