LAWRENCEVILLE - A Norcross High School student was charged with bringing a firearm onto school property when he allegedly brought a realistic-looking pellet gun to football practice last week.
Receiver Tyrece Gaines had already dealt with administrators and football coaches about several angry outbursts and disruptions when he again "lost his temper" and became combative at school on Thursday, according to a school police report. Most of the issues involved his on-again, off-again relationship with his girlfriend, whom he had been dating for several months.
Gaines was sent home and ordered not to return until Monday, when he was scheduled to meet with administrators to discuss the probability of long-term suspension. However, he allegedly showed up to football practice on Thursday night to confront another player about rumors that he was involved with Gaines' girlfriend.
According to the school police report, Gaines showed several students a gun that was tucked in his waistband. Those students informed the football coaches.
Norcross head coach Keith Maloof, who reportedly has a close relationship with Gaines, approached him and talked him into coming into his office nearby. For the next four and a half hours, Maloof, other coaches and Gaines' mother talked with him, eventually persuading the 18-year-old to surrender the gun.
It turned out to be a realistic-looking pellet gun, the report said. Gaines was allowed to leave with his mother to be taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. He was reportedly "very emotional" during the episode, but he did not make any direct threats.
Gaines was arrested later the same afternoon when he arrived at his girlfriend's house uninvited. He is charged with possessing a weapon on school property and disrupting a public school.
Gaines, a junior on the Norcross football team in 2005, is considered a college prospect. He was one of the best wide receivers in the county last season with 35 catches for 642 yards and six touchdowns. Because he will turn 19 in March, Gaines would not have been able to play for Norcross his senior year. The Georgia High School Association says if a player turns 19 before May 1 of his or her junior season, that player is not eligible to play sports as a senior.
Gaines was ejected from a season-opening win over Duluth on Aug. 19 for throwing a punch at a Duluth player. He was forced to miss Norcross' second game on Aug. 26, which was an upset victory over Parkview.