You could call it the ultimate equalizer---someone carrying what appeared to be an AK47 assault rifle in the parking lot at Perry Hall High School last week as five teens beat down a lone victim.
Police arrested 18-year old Darren Bennett, Junior and discovered the weapon was just a convincing copy of the real thing.
"As a part of the search warrant, (they were) able to locate this rifle, which was confirmed to be an air soft rifle, not an actual handgun or rifle or firearm," said Cpl. Shawn Vinson of the Baltimore County Police Department.
As Bennett's attorney and family emerged from the district courthouse in Essex on Monday, we also learned there is more to the teen who was toting that weapon.
"He's a leader on the campus,” said Attorney Landon White, “He was a captain on the football team at Perry Hall as I stated on the record."
White says Bennett has no previous record and deserved better than to spend the last three days behind bars with no bail for carrying what amounted to be a pellet gun.
"Sometimes as adolescents we make bad judgments,” said White, “The young man just turned 18 on 12/29. He's taken AP courses. He's passed them and he's gotten into multiple colleges. In fact, more colleges than I had gotten into when I was an undergrad."
But whether he pulled the weapon out to intimidate his fellow students or to try to stop the violence, Bennett is now learning a costly lesson.
"Bringing an air pistol to school is a no-no,” said White, “You might know it's not a gun, but that police officer doesn't. Any handgun-carrying citizen in Maryland doesn't. So anything could have gone wrong."
The judge in this case ordered Bennett's release on pre-trial supervision by telephone and he will have a 10 o'clock curfew.
There's no word yet on his academic future just two credits short of getting his diploma.