A young man who brought a loaded handgun onto the grounds of Baker Hall School in Lackawanna pleaded guilty in Erie County Court to criminal possession of a weapon.
Devonte Ridgeway, 20, of Buffalo was carrying the gun in a backpack Jan. 23, triggering a metal detector at the school's security station. Staff members found the loaded .22 caliber gun stuffed inside a sneaker. Ridgeway fled but was picked up later in Holy Cross Cemetery by Lackawanna police.
Ridgeway told officers he had the gun for protection after having been shot at in Buffalo, Police Capt. Joseph Leo said after the arrest.
Baker Victory Services runs the school at 744 Ridge Road,where it teaches and counsels students ages 11 to 21 who have behavioral and emotional needs.
The plea also covers a charge of carrying a weapon on school grounds. Judge Michael Pietruszka set sentencing for May 1. The mandatory minimum sentence on the charge is 3 1/2 years in prison, with a maximum of 15 years.