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Zielinski to consider plea change in school gun case

Thomas Zielinski, 20, was arrested in late August on charges of carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle by a person younger than 21, reckless handling of a weapon and possession of a deadly weapon in a school zone. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Thomas Zielinski, 20, was arrested in late August on charges of carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle by a person younger than 21, reckless handling of a weapon and possession of a deadly weapon in a school zone. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

CAMP VERDE — A 20-year-old man charged with pointing a gun at Sedona Red Rock student on campus could change his plea at a hearing next week on weapons charges.

Monday, defense attorney Jillian Bachman-Underhill told Yavapai Court Judge Pro Tem Chris Kottke that her client, Thomas W. Zielinski of Sedona, was ready to schedule a hearing that would involve possible change of plea. That hearing is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 25, 11 a.m., in Kottke’s courtroom.

Zielinski was arrested in late August and soon released from jail on a $5,000 secured appearance bond. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle by a person younger than 21, reckless handling of a weapon and possession of a deadly weapon in a school zone.

According to a statement of probable cause, Zielinski, Sedona Police allege, brought a handgun onto the Sedona Red Rock High campus Aug. 27. He is not a student there.

While parked in a student parking lot, Zielinski eyed a 17-year-old boy who he believed was spending time with Zielinski’s girlfriend, with whom he had been having a dispute.

Allegedly, as the 17-year-old drove past Zielinski’s vehicle, Zielinski pointing the gun at the victim.

Three days later, on Aug. 30, the high school’s resource officer was contacted by someone who believed Zielinski was headed to the campus. This led to a one-hour lockdown of the school; Zielinski was located off-campus and questioned.

Zielinski then allegedly returned to the school campus in a car later that same day, despite having been issued a no trespassing order earlier in the day, according to school officials.

Sedona police arrested Zielinski the following day — Aug. 31 — at about 2:30 p.m.

His conditions of release, imposed by Kottke, include an order to have no contact with the alleged victim in this case.

Whether Zielinski has a criminal record is unclear. Yavapai County Court documents show he has sealed juvenile records.

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