Canton town leaders continue to leave their chief of police on suspension without pay following an incident involving a gun at Canton Elementary School.
The decision involving Chief Robert Murray was made during Monday night’s town council meeting.
On August 26, a female teacher discovered a loaded .22 caliber firearm on the floor in a staff bathroom at Canton Elementary School. The teacher thought it was a toy. After bringing it to the principal’s office, it was determined the gun belonged to teacher’s aide, Shana Dighton.
The elementary school principal called a Canton police officer to pick up the evidence and bring it back to the department.
Following an investigation by the Blaine County Sheriff’s department, the gun was discovered inside an evidence bag located at Murray’s house.
Murray may have taken the gun home, because Dighton is his girlfriend. Dighton also served as a Canton reserve police officer, and she has since resigned from the department following the incident.
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“To me when children are involved, that is important,” said Canton town council member Cleophas Wooley. “I was a member of the school board, so I know how the system works both there and on the town board. I was very upset.”
Murray has been charged with obstructing an officer and is free on an $1,000 bond.
Dighton is charged with possession of a weapon on school property and is also free on a $500 bond.
Both charges are misdemeanors.
“City council is very serious about what happened, we are trying to get our police department back in shape,” said Wooley. “We've had problems in the past. Chief Murray has done a marvelous job as far as I am concerned.”
Murray did not wish to make a comment to News 9 at Monday’s council meeting.
Town leaders hope the incident comes to an end, and soon.
“This gentleman is innocent until proven guilty as far as I am concerned,” said Wooley. “That was the consensus as far as the board goes.”
Town leaders elected an interim chief of police at Monday’s town meeting. Trent Maisano will serve as Canton chief of police while the case unfolds in court.