PORTLAND (AP) – Portland police say they have recovered a handgun that was displayed by teenagers in photos posted on the Internet and they are now seeking two of the teens in connection with a separate incident. Thanks to an anonymous tip, police found the unloaded .357 Magnum revolver in a paper bag alongside a trail in the city’s Munjoy Hill neighborhood.

Authorities would not release the names of the two teenagers being sought, but said one of them is a 17-year-old who was previously charged with aggravated assault for using a handgun to hit an acquaintance in the face.

During the same Nov. 5 altercation, a 19-year-old, who also was shown in the photos, smashed a brick into an occupied car, leading to charges of reckless conduct and aggravated criminal mischief, police said. The teenagers in the pictures were students at Portland High School. Its principal, Michael Johnson, said he appreciates the hard line that Police Chief Michael Chitwood’s has taken on the matter and is relieved that the gun has been recovered.

Chitwood called the .357 revolver a “nasty gun” and said he was glad to have it off the street. The gun was not reported stolen and police will work with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to trace its sales history, Chitwood said. He said authorities moved swiftly to ensure that the photos were not a prelude to the kind of violence that erupted five years ago at Colorado’s Columbine H.S.

in which two students shot and killed 12 students and a staff member. The killers had taken pictures of themselves posing with guns before the massacre.

Portland High School officials, who first learned of the Web site photos, alerted the police officer assigned to the school. The site included photos of students apparently drinking alcohol and with drug paraphernalia.

AP-ES-11-20-04 1300EST



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