Johnston, NC – David "Cole" Withrow was arrested and charged with a felony for accidentally leaving his shotgun in his truck. When he realized his mistake he tried to do the right thing by calling his mother to come remove the shotgun from his truck but that decision got him arrested.
David "Cole" Withrow was a senior and an honor student ready to graduate this semester. He was an Eagle Scout and wrote his senior class project on gun safety and was looking forward to attending college this coming fall.
His dreams came to a crashing halt the day he realized that he accidentally forgot his shotgun in the back of this truck after he had gone skeet shooting over the weekend. He debated whether he should drive home and be tardy or call his mom from school to come and pick up the gun. Little did he know that that decision would change the course of his future forever. He decided to walk down to the school's office and call his mom to come and get the shotgun, but the 18-year-old's private conversation was overheard; he was subsequently arrested and charged with a felony.
According to ABC11-WTVD, a movement called "Free Cole" has begun and spread to various social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.
A number of students from Princeton High petitioned the school board to at least let Withrow graduate. "Everyone makes a mistake, he tried to do the right thing by it and it's upsetting," fellow-student Tyler Pope told WTVD. According to Jimmy Lawrence, the attorney for Johnston County Schools Board of Education, Withrow was not expelled, but provisions were made for him to continue education through the end of the year so he could receive his diploma.
The Johnston County Sheriff's Office confirmed to WTVD that it's only a misdemeanor if an administrator brings a gun on school property, but if a student does it's an automatic felony. WTVD reported that Withrow had been admitted into Campbell University and East Carolina University and he had been awarded a scholarship, but now it's unclear if the felony charge will impact his college attendance this fall.