Gun found at Sioux Falls school left there by custodian

Published: Aug. 27, 2018 at 10:49 AM CDT
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6 p.m.

Sioux Falls School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Maher does not believe a custodian found a loaded handgun hidden in a car in the auto shop on the campus of the Career and Technical Education Academy.

"I think that's highly unlikely," he said. "There are safeguards and checks before those vehicles ever come to us. They didn't miss bullets, they didn't miss casings, they didn't miss a handgun. Highly, highly unlikely."

Authorities say 25-year-old Joseph Jay Croal is facing charges for bringing a gun into a school and false reporting -- both misdemeanors.

"Doesn't matter to me if it's a misdemeanor or felony," Maher said. "What matters is we had a person bring a loaded handgun onto the school grounds, and that's just not acceptable."


12 p.m.

Court documents are providing more details into the arrest of a Sioux Falls school custodial worker after a loaded gun was found on the Career and Technical Education Academy (CTE) campus.

Authorities say 25-year-old Joseph Jay Croal of Sioux Falls is facing possession of a firearm on school property and false reporting.

Croal initially told authorities he found three bullets underneath a trash can and one bullet inside the trash can underneath the liner. He then stated he found the .22 caliber handgun inside the ceiling tiles.

He told detectives he alerted a school principal, who told Croal to put the gun and bullets in his office, according to court documents.

Over the weekend, detectives interviewed and DNA tested between 25 and 30 students and staff who would have used the bathroom.

Croal voluntarily participated in a lie-detector test on Sunday at the Law Enforcement Center. After the test, he changed his story.

According to court documents, Croal said he was looking through a Chevy Blazer inside the auto shop at CTE late Friday night.

Croal claimed he found four bullets underneath the back seat, and later found a handgun under the front seat. Croal said he put the gun inside his garbage can on his cart and brought it into the men's bathroom where he placed it in the ceiling.

Croal told detectives he "panicked" because he had touched the gun.

An arrest warrant was issued for Croal on Monday.

Police said there was never a threat to students or staff.

School officials tell KSFY News the car was donated for kids to work on in the auto shop.

Croal has been arrested on multiple charges, including failure to maintain financial responsibility, speeding, simple assault and disorderly conduct, dating back to 2011.


10:50 a.m.

Police say a handgun found at a Sioux Falls school was left there by a custodial worker, and that there was never a threat to students or staff at that school.

School officials said a hidden loaded handgun

at the Career Technical Education Academy on Friday night.

On Monday, Captain Blaine Larsen said the gun was left at a bathroom by a custodian.

Larsen said there was no intent to use the gun against students or staff, and that the incident was "just a bad decision" by the employee.

A message sent to parents by the district identified the custodian as 25-year-old Joseph Croal. He has since been fired by the district, and was arrested for possession of a weapon at a school and false reporting.

Superintendent Brian Maher said Monday he is thankful of the fast response from police and city leaders in addressing the issue.