Lakewood Ranch High School teacher suspended after arrest involving teenage neighbors

Lakewood Ranch High School teacher suspended after assault arrest April 4

MANATEE -- A Lakewood Ranch High School teacher is still on paid administrative leave after being charged April 4 with aggravated assault and battery after he was accused of pointing a rifle at two juveniles.

Prosecutors dropped the charges April 30 after witnesses refused to cooperate.

Bryan Lukas, an exceptional student education teacher, has been on paid administrative leave since April 7.

Lukas, 25, was arrested on two felony charges of aggravated assault and one misdemeanor charge of battery. Lukas will not be charged, according to information filed by Assistant State Attorney Justin Phillips.

The State Attorney's Office will not pursue charges because the juveniles refuse to cooperate. The case is now closed.

Since charges have been dropped, Lukas is eligible to be reinstated, district spokesman Steve Valley said Thursday.

The arrest stemmed from an incident in the 1000 block of 67th Street Court East in Bradenton with Lukas' juvenile neighbor and a friend of the neighbor, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Just after 8:30 p.m. April 4, Lukas argued with a juvenile neighbor, according to the arrest report. Lukas accused the teen of selling drugs and pointed a gun in his face, the neighbor said. According to the teen, Lukas said he would shoot anyone who came to his house looking for drugs and he would also shoot the neighbor.

A second incident later that night was videotaped by the neighbor's friend, according to the police report. No gun was visible in the video, but Lukas appeared drunk, according to the report.

When speaking to Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputies, Lukas confirmed he owns a gun matching the description, but said it was never loaded and he never pointed it at anyone. Lukas told police he laid the gun down in the neighbor's yard.

Lukas told deputies he should not have lost his temper but he was sick of the juveniles selling drugs outside his house.

Interviews were scheduled with the juveniles, according to the State Attorney's Office. One called to say he was not coming in for his interview and the other failed to show up. Without their cooperation, the State Attorney's Office said it cannot prove the charges.

Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney.