Students fear firecracker explosion is gunshots

A firecracker explosion in the cafeteria of Ballston Spa High School early Thursday morning, left students panicked and frightened that gunshots were being fired, according to Saratoga District Attorney James Murphy.

At about 7:30 a.m., Ballston Spa senior Daniel Berger, 17, lit a handful of firecrackers and threw them into a crowd of students where they exploded in succession, Murphy said.

Some students thought it was gunfire and that they were being shot at, so they ran away from the source of the explosion not knowing what it was, said Murphy. "Teachers responded immediately, got the room under control and state police came and arrested Berger."

Berger was arraigned Thursday morning in Clifton Park Town Court,where bail was set at $10,000 cash and he was sent to Saratoga County jail, Murphy said. Berger was arraigned again Thursday night, where an order of protection to keep him away from the school was requested if he made bail. Murphy said Berger was charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence is seven years in jail if convicted.

Murphy said that Principal Kristi Jensen immediately sent out email and text alerts to let parents know about the situation and posted information on the district Web site.

"Kids were upset, parents wanted answers and we wanted to let them know that the situation was being taken very seriously," said Murphy.

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