Bond reduced for suspected Chelsea Middle School gunman

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A judge has reduced the bond for a man accused of holding five female students at gunpoint at Chelsea Middle School.

The suspect in the case is 21-year-old Ryan Matthew Sims. He faces multiple kidnapping charges and one charge of making terror threats for the February incident.

Investigators say Sims entered a locker room at Chelsea Middle School armed with a pistol. They say he then held five girls at gunpoint, causing the school to go on lockdown.

When the school resource officer arrived on the scene, Sims told him he had a bomb. The officer negotiated with Sims and the girls were released without any injuries after about 20 minutes.

The preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday, May 8 turned into a bond reduction hearing. Sims' original bond was more than $5 million and his attorneys argued it was unconstitutional.

The original bond included $1 million for each of the five kidnapping charges and $15,000 for making a terrorist threat. A judge today reduced Sims' bond to $515,000.

Sims attorneys also revealed today that Sims was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic since he's been in jail. The attorney says they may argue that Sims is not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect.

Attorneys say Sims is getting treatment and if his family is able to make bond, they want him to continue treatment. If released on bond, Sims will be required to wear an electronic monitoring device and be confined to house arrest 24/7.

The state objected to the bond reduction, saying they don't want Sims out of jail because he's a threat to the public. They said even though he didn't have a bomb with him at the school, he had been researching pipe bombs online.

Numerous guns were also found at Sims' home. His defense attorneys say those guns have been taken away from the family and the attorneys are somewhat satisfied with the bond reduction ruling.

Sims was a former Chelsea Middle School student and part-time summer employee at the school who was well-known to staff. School officials said no one was initially fearful of Sims when he showed up to the school because he was a familiar face.

Another hearing will be held in a few months as a continuation of today's preliminary hearing.

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