GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – Four men are facing firearms charges after they allegedly had guns on school property during a Gloucester County School Board meeting earlier this month.
Three of the men face charges of carrying a firearm on school property – Derek Coblentz, 32, of Prospect; Christopher Cordasco, 26, of Williamsburg and Antonio Hernandez, 27, of Fishersville.
Virginia Code states that it is illegal to possess a weapon on school property, including public, private and religious school property like a daycare center, elementary school or property used exclusively for school-sponsored functions.
Trevor Herrin, 28, of Williamsburg, in addition to facing a charge of carrying a firearm on school property, also faces a charge of unlawful possession of a concealed weapon.
Herrin had told 10 On Your Side that he was at the meeting to address the board about his tire being slashed, and voiced support for his friend and School Board member Darren Post.
Post issued this statement after the incident, saying, in part, “I would like to clarify the relationship between Mr. Trevor Herrin and myself. We simply share membership in a regional grassroots’ conservative political organization. Our interactions have been limited to a handful of occasions, mostly at group meetings which are open to the public.
I strongly support a comprehensive investigation into this matter by Sheriff Darrell Warren and his team, confident in their commitment to uphold law and order.”
The Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office said they had a deputy on duty and in uniform at the July 11 School Board meeting providing security at the Thomas Calhoun Walker Education Center at 6099 T.C. Walker Road.
The building is the property of the Gloucester County School Board, the sheriff’s office noted, and is the site of both Head Start classes and a licensed daycare facility. There were multiple references to the property being a school, including “school zone” lights on the road in front of the school, a Gloucester County Public Schools logo on a sign and other indicators.
The sheriff’s office said the deputy providing security at the meeting observed five adult men entering the auditorium together before sitting apart from the others. Herrin, who had already admitted to carrying a gun with him to the meeting in an interview with 10 On Your Side, also had a knife on the back of his belt in what the sheriff’s office said was in a “scout carry” position allowing the wearer easy access to take it out.
Herrin spoke during the public comment period, alleging that his vehicle had been vandalized during the previous school board meeting and that he “would strongly recommend caution and reflection before engaging in anything like that, especially with someone you don’t know, with capabilities you don’t know,” the sheriff’s office noted.
After he finished speaking, the deputy at the meeting “observed the grip of a pistol” on the right side of Herrin’s person, the sheriff’s office saying he had not been able to see previously “due to the positioning of the weapon and the shirt the male was wearing hanging below his belt line (concealed).”
His pistol, according to the sheriff’s office, “was only visible as the male left the podium due to his body movements that raised the height of his shirt tale above his beltline briefly.”
After he spoke, Herrin and a group of four other men left the school building and went to the parking lot, where the deputy in the meeting, along with additional deputy sheriffs met up with the men. The deputy told the men he was investigating the carrying of a firearm on school property,” the sheriff’s office said, “and during the conversation it was revealed that four of the five members of the group were possessing concealed firearms. The fifth person of the group did not possess a firearm, and the sheriff’s office said he does not face charges at this time.
Herrin said he was told that it was a school and that he couldn’t have guns there.
“I looked around and said, ‘it doesn’t look like a school to me. There are no signs,'” Herrin said.
Herrin told 10 On Your Side’s Lauryn Moss he didn’t know it was a gun-free zone.
The situation outside prompted the meeting to go into lockdown.
“At this time, we cannot release anyone from the auditorium until we get a future all clear from some folks in the parking lot,” one School Board member told the audience.
While Herrin had said the vandalism incident was an attack against him, the sheriff’s office said the incident was not immediately reported to law enforcement and instead, they said he called several days later, saying he was suspicious of several people who may have “slashed his tire.”
The sheriff’s office said security video had been checked to observe whether there was any vandalism done to Herrin’s vehicle. However, they said there was no evidence of anyone tampering with his vehicle and he did not file a crime report with the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office.