Daniel Buckley

Prosecutor charges man in Lake Central High School incident

Contributed By:The 411 News

No proof of a weapon, but accusations of impersonating a police officer

Lake County Prosecutor Bernie Carter has filed charges against Daniel Buckley, the Dyer resident at the center of the commotion that led to the suspension then forced resignation of a Lake Central High School teacher.

Prosecutor Carter said the charges stem from a September 21 incident at the high school, in St. John, where Buckley falsely portrayed himself as a police officer.

Buckley entered the school grounds in his auto, following an auto driven by a Lake Central student to the school’s auto shop area. According to the charging document, Buckley told students and later, auto shop teacher Dennis Brannock the student’s car was travelling at a high speed near his home, endangering residents. Brannock told Buckley he would take care of it.

After Buckley left, several students told Brannock that Buckley had a gun. The student driver said when Buckley approached him complaining about his driving, he saw a gun tucked in Buckley’s pants. The student said he asked Buckley about carrying a gun on school property. Buckley told the student he was a Sauk Village, Illinois police officer. The student said he watched Buckley go to his car, place the gun inside, then return to the shop area to talk with the teacher.

Other students in the shop area said Buckley had a gun. Brannock said he didn’t see a weapon when he talked with Buckley.

Lake Central school officials learned of the incident the next day, suspending Brannock for not immediately bringing it to their attention. Lake Central Principal Sean Begley and the Lake Central School Board said the teacher’s actions were a danger to the students’ safety. Students and parents organized rallies and protests in support of the teacher. Last week, Brannock submitted his resignation.

In the indictment, St. John police detectives talked with Buckley three days later. Buckley said he had a dart gun with him and didn’t own a gun. Buckley didn’t produce the dart gun for police, saying he had left it at a house in South Bend that he goes to on weekends. Further gun registration searches did not reveal Buckley’s purchase of a handgun.

Sauk Village officials told investigators Buckley was not one of their police staff. They said that Buckley once lived in the village.

The affidavit said Indiana criminal statutes don’t define a dart gun as a firearm or a handgun.

Story Posted:10/19/2018

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