Teacher Charged With Firing Blanks Pistol at Students

VIDEO: Virginia high school teacher allegedly fired a blank gun in his classroom.

(Credit: Washington County Sheriffs Office)

A teacher at a Virginia vocational school has been charged with terrifying a dozen students by lining them up against a classroom wall and firing a starter pistol at them execution-style.

Manuael Earnest Dillow, 60, was charged last week with 12 felony counts of brandishing a firearm on school property following the April 4 incident at the William H. Neff Center, a career and technical school, in Abingdon, Va.

Dillow allegedly lined up the students near a garage door of the school's welding shop and pulled from the waistband of his pants a black "blank-firing handgun," that according to police looked like a real gun.

He then shot the gun between four and ten times in the direction of the students. The sound of the gunshots were "similar to that of a firearm that fires a projectile, thus placing the students in fear," Washington County, Va., Sheriff Fred Newman said in a statement.

Newman told ABC News that Dillow was charged with one felony count for each student.

Newman said the students reported being frightened and that under "Virginia code, the brandishing charges include inducing fear to the persons involved."

Each charge carries a maximum prison sentence of five years or a $2,500 fine or both.

ABC News was unable to reach Dillow at his Kingsport, Tenn., home. He was suspended without pay from his job with the school system.

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