Man arrested after bringing loaded gun to Derby elementary school

Stone Creek Elementary in Derby was placed on “Secure” status Tuesday morning after an armed man arrived at the school and tried to get in, the district said.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 11:20 AM CST
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DERBY, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: 12 News spoke with the Derby school district and the city’s police department for further insight into an uncertain situation involving a man, armed with a loaded handgun trying to enter Stone Creek Elementary School.

“(Through) school surveillance video, we learned that the individual tried to get into our front doors, which were locked,” Derby Public Schools Superintendent Heather Bohaty said.

She said this happened during the morning latchkey program at Stone Creek Elementary.

After being unable to gain access to the school on multiple attempts, Bohaty said the man went back to his car.

As parents dropped off students, they noticed the man in his car and alerted the staff. The district said Stone Creek’s principal and the school nurse checked on the man and found him in what they described as an unconscious type of state.

“(The) principal and the nurse went out to the vehicle to check on the individual and see the state of the vehicle,” Bohaty said. “And once the 911 call was placed, the students were immediately placed, at that time, in ‘Secure Mode.’”

“Secure mode” means the doors are locked and students remain inside the building, but normal classroom activity continues.

Bohaty said when Stone Creek went into Secure mode, most students had arrived at school. She said one classroom closer to where he tried to get in was moved to another part of the building as a precaution.

Contacting the man inside the car, Derby police confirmed he was armed.

“At the time he was arrested, officers did locate a firearm in his waistband,” Derby Police Chief Robert Lee said.

Billy Jack Daniels
Billy Jack Daniels(Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office)

Police also found drug paraphernalia in the car and learned 35-year-old Billy Jack Daniels, last known to live in the Butler County town of Latham, had a warrant for his arrest in another city. As of Tuesday evening, police continued to determine why Daniels was at the school.

“That’s one of the things we’re going to be looking at, to see if there is a connection. At this point, we do not have a firm connection between him and the school,” Lee said.

Police arrested Daniels for firearm charges, including having a gun on school grounds and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Stone Creek Elementary in Derby was placed on “Secure” status Tuesday morning after a man arrived at the school and tried to get in, the district said. It happened while the school was providing morning latchkey. That man was arrested.

“‘Secure’ is the action used to safeguard students and staff within the building. During “Secure” all students and staff remain inside the building and lock outside doors. When in “Secure,” business continues as usual in the classroom,” the district said in a release.

The district said the school’s staff followed district protocol and did not allow the man in the building. They called 911 while taking “Secure” action. Derby police responded “while students and staff remained safe inside the building,” said the district.

According to the release, police arrested the man and notified the district that he was in possession of a loaded handgun. He also had an outstanding warrant. His name has not been released, but police said he’s 35 and last known to live in Latham, about 40 miles east of Derby. He was arrested on firearm charges, having a gun on school grounds and possession of drug paraphernalia.

“Derby Police are investigating to see what the individual’s purpose for being on school grounds was,” said the district. “The suspect is being interviewed by Derby PD detectives and it is anticipated he will be charged with various weapons violations. At this point, there are no known active threats to the school.”

12 News featured Stone Creek Elementary in 2020 when the school opened with several high-tech safety features. Those features include a monitor in the main office connected to a security camera that shows who’s approaching the school and security doors that can be closed with the touch of a button from the main office.

You can read the full release from the district below.

We wanted to make you aware of a situation at Stone Creek Elementary this morning. Stone Creek was placed temporarily in a “Secure” status due to a concern regarding an individual in the school’s front parking lot. Derby Police Department responded quickly.

“Secure” is one of five actions in our Standard Response Protocol (SRP). Derby Public Schools uses the SRP as a crisis response that helps staff, students, parents and first responders quickly and adequately respond to situations.“Secure” is the action used to safeguard students and staff within the building. During “Secure” all students and staff remain inside the building and lock outside doors. When in “Secure,” business continues as usual in the classroom.

During morning Latchkey, an individual tried to gain access to the building. Staff followed district protocol and did not allow the individual into the building. Parents later reported an individual in the parking lot and notified the school. Building staff reacted promptly, calling 911, and taking the “Secure” action. Derby Police were notified immediately and were able to address the situation while students and staff remained safe inside the building.

Police informed us after the incident that the individual did have a loaded handgun in his possession. There was an outstanding warrant and the individual was arrested. Derby Police are investigating to see what the individual’s purpose for being on school grounds was. The suspect is being interviewed by Derby PD detectives and it is anticipated he will be charged with various weapons violations. At this point, there are no known active threats to the school.

You can find our safety procedures on the SRP Parent Reference Guide HERE. Please know safety and security of our students and staff is always our top priority. If you see something, say something. If you ever have concerns or something you feel needs looked into, please report it. All information is looked into as quickly as possible to see if there is a substantiated situation or threat to address. Anyone, at any time can submit information. There are also ways to submit information anonymously. Learn more HERE. Ways to submit can always be found on the district website at the link above. They are also included here:

  • Please call 911, if in immediate danger
  • Local Police Department or School SRO
  • Notify School Staff
  • The Kansas School Safety Hotline, 1 (877) 626-8203, can be used to anonymously report any potential school violence. The Kansas School Safety Hotline is there for you 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. A Kansas Highway Patrol dispatcher takes your call and notifies the appropriate stakeholders.
  • Submit an anonymous tip through See Something, Say Something
    • Click HERE to submit a tip and be taken directly to a secure tip reporting website.
    • Download the P3 Tips app from the App Store or Google Play and follow the on-screen prompts.
    • Call (316) 267-2111