Clarksburg Student Expected To Plead Guilty to Bringing Gun to School

Sentencing will take place April 24


Alwin Chen

Via Montgomery County police

The 18-year-old Clarksburg High School student arrested in February after he allegedly brought a loaded handgun to school is expected to plead guilty to a single charge this month.

Alwin Chen will plead guilty to one count of carrying a handgun on public school property, according to a plea agreement signed by prosecutors and Chen's attorneys. The agreement, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was submitted Thursday to the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville.

A judge must approve the deal when Chen returns to court April 24. On that date, the judge will also sentence Chen, who could receive up to a maximum of three years in prison.

As part of the plea agreement, charges of possessing a regulated firearm as a person under 21 years old and carrying a handgun would be dropped.

Attorney David Felsen, who along with Jill Michaels is representing Chen, said his client is looking forward to resolving the case. 

"On behalf of Alwin, we're gratified that this matter is going to be brought to a conclusion," he said. "We're also satisfied that the state has agreed to drop two of the charges, and the rest of the issues will have to be put before the judge."

Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the State's Attorney's Office, said he could not comment on an ongoing case.

Chen has remained in custody since Feb. 15, when he was arrested at Clarksburg High School. In the early afternoon that day--the day after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida--a school resource officer pulled Chen out of his AP psychology class after hearing he might be carrying a gun.

When the officer questioned him, Chen handed over a loaded gun and a knife he was carrying. Later that night, police searching his Germantown home found other guns, including an AR-15-style semi-assault rifle.

Prosecutors have said Chen posed a danger to the school and community, noting that Chen allegedly brought a gun to school on multiple occasions before his arrest and pointing to journal entries in which the teen wrote about wanting to carry out "vigilante operations."

Chen's attorneys have characterized his motivations differently, arguing he brought the gun to school to protect himself and others from a potential school shooter.

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