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Deputies: Elementary student took pistol from coach’s car, coach charged, Lancaster County explains its involvement

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 1:27 PM EDT
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LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - A travel basketball coach has been charged with unlawfully having a gun after a 10-year-old elementary student took a loaded pistol from the coach’s car and brought it to school in Lancaster County, deputies say.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office immediately began an investigation into the circumstances under which the child came into possession of the pistol.

The child plays basketball on a travel team and 36-year-old Isaac Lamon Adams is one of his coaches. On Monday evening, deputies say the team practiced at the Buford Recreation Center and Adams had the pistol in his car.

The coach is not employed by the school district or works for the county. Isaac Adams’ team was just renting out the facility, according to the Parks and Recreation Director Hal Hiott. He says he had not heard about the situation until the questions started coming in from parents wondering how a convicted felon was teaching youth basketball.

Hiott explained Lancaster County rents out gym space to the public. All people have to do is fill out a form. He also says Adams was not the one to actually rent out the space, he was just using it with his team.

As far as the county’s policy goes, the director says they do background checks for all coaches and volunteers in every sport. He says it would have been a different outcome if they found out Adams was a county team coach.

”Had it been a head coach that would have done something like this in our program we would have immediately suspended the coach from the team,” says Hiott.

One parent named Matt Schwartz, who is also a coach, is taking a different stance. He says people should always be given a second chance depending on what they did and as far as trusting the coaches on your child’s sports team, he has his own opinion.

”I think that’s a general standard for people. You should trust people until they give you a reason not to trust them. And I mean you got your kid out there. If you don’t trust them sit out there and watch the practice,” says Schwartz.

Now the child in the center of all of this is also being charged. The sheriff’s office charged the 10-year-old with carrying a pistol, possession of a firearm on school property and possession of a pistol by a person under 18.

The child reportedly saw the pistol in the car and later Monday evening, was allowed by Adams to go to the car unsupervised, at which time the child took the pistol from Adams’ car.

On Tuesday morning, Adams noticed the pistol missing, suspected the child had the pistol and called the child’s mother, who went to Erwin Elementary.

On Tuesday, a school resource officer at Erwin Elementary School in Lancaster was summoned to the office concerning a fourth grader in possession of a pistol at the school.

The child’s mother received a phone call that the child might have a pistol and immediately drove to the school and notified the principal. The child was taken from class by the principal and escorted to the office with his mother.

A Glock model 42 .380 semiautomatic pistol was found in his front waistband. The pistol was loaded and was secured by the SRO.

Deputies say the child did not brandish the pistol or use or threaten to use it in any manner at the school. The child was released to the custody of his mother and left school property.

The travel basketball coach, Adams, is prohibited from possessing a pistol based upon his criminal history. He also had the pistol placed in an unlawful location in the car.

On Wednesday morning, warrants were obtained charging Adams with carrying a pistol and possession of a pistol by a person convicted of a crime of violence. Adams turned himself in on Thursday.

A complaint has been filed with the Lancaster County office of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice alleging the child is delinquent for committing the offenses of carrying a pistol, possession of a pistol by a person under the age of 18, and possession of a firearm on school property.

“Fortunately, nothing bad happened with this pistol at Erwin Elementary,” said Sheriff Barry Faile. “A loaded firearm in the possession of a ten-year-old child in a school full of students and staff is a really dangerous scenario. I applaud this child’s mother, school administrators, and our SRO for jumping into action immediately to find the pistol and ensure that everyone was safe. Mr. Adams should not have been in possession of this pistol and certainly should not have left it accessible to this child.”

Deputies emphasized that all defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.

Anyone with information about this or any other case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or contact Midlands Crimestoppers in one of the following ways: dial 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372), log onto www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and click on the “Submit a Tip” tab, or download the P3 Tips App for Apple or Android devices.

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