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School shooter applies for gun permit: claims Evening Shade address

Thursday, December 18, 2008

(Photo)
Photo courtesy of the Jonesboro Sun A young Andrew Golden. Golden is now known as Drew Douglas Grant.
Before last Wednesday, the true identity of Drew Douglas Grant, 22, who claims an Evening Shade address, was hidden from everyone but a select few. After an application for a concealed handgun permit was submitted by Grant and denied, the Arkansas State Police confirmed that fingerprints prove that Grant and Andrew Golden are the same person.

The electronic edition of The Arkansas Times, a Little Rock weekly newspaper, first reported the story Dec. 10 after receiving a copy of the letter of denial via a Freedom of Information request.

On March 24, 1998, Golden and Mitchell Johnson, pulled the fire alarm at the Westside Middle School near Jonesboro, then opened fire with high-powered rifles when teachers and students emerged from the building. Golden was 11 and Johnson was 13 at the time.

Killed in the shootings were teacher Shannon Wright, 32, and students Natalie Brooks, 11; Paige Ann Herring, 12; Stephanie Johnson, 12; and Britthney Varner, 11. Ten others were wounded.

Golden and Johnson were charged in state court as juveniles and would have been released at age 18 but were held until their 21st birthday after being transferred to federal custody for the crime of bringing a firearm to school. Both were released with a clean record at age 21.

Until now, Golden's new identity has officially been a secret. Craighead Circuit Judge David Burnett issued a gag order prohibiting attorneys in a civil case filed against Golden by the families of the Westside Middle School victims from revealing Golden's new name, place of employment, where he lives or where he attends school.

Since being released from jail, Golden has legally changed his name and apparently avoided any further run-ins with the law.

Johnson has since been arrested, convicted and sentenced to four years in federal prison on the charge of possessing a gun while being a user or addicted to a controlled substance. In October, Johnson was sentenced to an additional 12 years on state theft charges for using a customer's credit card stolen from the convenience store where he worked.

The application for a concealed handgun permit was received Oct. 7 by the Arkansas State Police. With the application was paperwork showing he had completed seven hours of firearms training required to qualify him for a permit to carry a semi-automatic handgun. The training took place in Independence County.

In a letter denying Grant's request for the permit, Arkansas State Police Lt. Cora Gentry tells Grant that Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver filed a letter of objection to the permit. The Arkansas law dealing with the issuance of concealed-carry licenses states: "The director may deny a license if the sheriff or chief of police, if applicable, of the applicant's place of residence submits an affidavit that the applicant has been or is reasonably likely to be a danger to himself or others or to the community at large as the result of the applicant's mental or psychological state, as demonstrated by past patterns of behavior, or participation in an incident involving unlawful violence or threats of unlawful violence."

Section 2 of the letter is blocked out. Section 3 of the letter states, "It is the Department's position, based on a reading of the Arkansas Juvenile Code ... (as was in effect in 1997) in conjunction with Arkansas Code ... possession of firearms by certain persons, that you are prohibited from possessing or owning a firearm. Therefore, it would be against federal or state law to issue you the license."

Arkansas State Police spokesman, Bill Sadler, says the state police also denied the permit over concerns about the accuracy of Grant's list of places where he had lived. Saddler said, "At least two previous addresses that were known to the department ... were not listed." While Sadler did not offer specifics, those two addresses likely were Arkansas' Alexander Juvenile Correctional Facility and the federal prison where he served time until he turned 21. The only federal prisons in Arkansas are in Forrest City and Texarkana.

In a section of the application an applicant must list all residences where he has lived in the past two years. Grant says on the application that he lived in Ravenden from April 2002 to May 2006, then in Evening Shade from May 2006 to June 2008. Golden was not released from state and federal custody until May 25, 2007.

Gentry says in the letter denying Grant's application, that a check of Grant's driver's license history found that he transferred a Missouri driver's license to an Arkansas license on May 15, 2008. The Missouri license lists an address in Cape Girardeau, Mo., as his home. Gentry also sites an accident report following a May 4 motorcycle wreck Grant was involved in. The motorcycle was listed as being owned by Andrew Golden's mother, Patricia, and lists Grant's address at 910 Heber Springs Road in Batesville. "Both of these incidents are within the time frame that you stated that you resided in Evening Shade and they are not listed on your application," Gentry wrote.

The Arkansas State Police spokesman said that the investigation into the application is ongoing. "There is a provision in the statute to charge an applicant with providing false information, if the administrator of the program so deems it necessary," he said. Grant/Golden has 10 days to appeal the denial.



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