Illinois Student's 'Gun' Was a Prop for a School Play, Lawyer Says

Starter gun seen by security guard leads to arrest of student in Agatha Christie theater production


A Southwestern Illinois College student, charged in connection with carrying a disabled starter gun used as a play prop, now faces disciplinary proceedings.

On Nov. 4, Daniel McEvilly, 20, was practicing for the college's production of Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians," when he walked down a hallway to use the bathroom, his lawyer, Randy Kelly, said.

"The gun belonged to the college," Kelly said. "It wasn't even operational as a starter pistol. It was only used as a prop."

When McEvilly came out of the bathroom, he spotted an acquaintance who works as a campus security guard, Kelly said. McEvilly playfully drew the starter pistol from a shoulder holster and pointed at the guard, Kelly said. The guard told McEvilly he shouldn't do that, and allowed him to reholster the starter pistol, Kelly said.

Half an hour later, police arrived at the theater and arrested McEvilly.

McEvilly, who has no prior criminal record, was charged with a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He was held at the St. Clair County Jail for about five hours before posting $100 bond on a $1,000 bail.

"This is a good kid who's never done anything criminal," Kelly said. "I've known him since he was in kindergarten. He's just a good kid."

SWIC's vice president of student development will review the episode and determine whether McEvilly should be disciplined, college spokesman Jim Haverstick said. Punishment could include a reprimand, probation, suspension or expulsion, according to the college catalogue.

SWIC could also bar McEvilly from class until the case works its way through the college's disciplinary procedures.

SWIC Director of Public Safety Mark Green declined to discuss the case, but said the 15 campus security officers at the Belleville campus and 12 at the Granite City campus don't carry guns, only pepper spray and police batons.

In an unrelated case, David J. Jung, 22, of O'Fallon, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after campus police said they discovered a handgun in his pocket on Nov. 9.

He also faces discipline at the college.