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Woman who brought AK-47 to bus stop says she lost track of time

A woman who brought an AK-47 to her son’s bus stop on the first day of school says she did not intend to harm anyone.

Before the bus arrived from North Stanly Middle School Aug. 26, Crystal Welch was at home with her younger son when she saw two coyotes on her property.

She retrieved the weapon from her house and, with her son behind her, fired a warning shot.

“I wasn’t going to kill them,” she said. “I was just going to shoot to scare them.”

Her son played outside for a little while and Welch, who was without her phone, lost track of time. The bus arrived before Welch was able to place the gun back in her home, she said.

“I didn’t know the bus was coming at that time because I didn’t have my phone on me,” she said.

As Welch was talking to the bus driver, who apologized for running late, her gun was pointed down with the muzzle touching the ground and her finger away from the trigger, she said. At the same time, a student on the bus filmed a five-second video of Welch holding her gun.

“In no way did I point that gun at anybody nor did I talk to anybody to make any kind of threats,” she said. “I looked at the driver the whole time.”

The student’s video quickly spread throughout social media and the next day, school officials and a sheriff’s deputy contacted Welch about the incident.

While he said Welch did not violate the law, Sheriff Jeff Crisco stressed not to bring firearms to bus stops.

“We would discourage you — even though North Carolina is an open carry state — of taking it to a bus stop to pick up your child or grandchild,” Crisco said.

For Welch, the incident reinforced the need for her to be more attentive about when her son’s bus arrives.

“I guess the next time, I will make sure I have my phone on me so I can watch the time,” she said.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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