A 28-year-old Lady's Island woman accused of pointing a loaded gun at an official of a private girls' school in Charleston had a history of harassing school children, authorities there say.
Alice Boland, who lives with her parents on Francis Marion Circle, said she was making a political statement against racist feminism when she brandished a gun Monday near the entrance to Ashley Hall in downtown Charleston. She told a judge during a bond hearing Tuesday she didn't understand the attempted-murder charge against her because the .22-caliber Taurus police say she pulled from her purse was defective and didn't fire when she pulled the trigger.
Boland also was charged with two counts of pointing a firearm, unlawful carrying of a firearm and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said.
Her bail was set at $900,000.
Officers recognized Boland from an incident two years ago at Ashley Hall, in which she harassed school children and acted suspiciously, according to an incident report filed Monday.
Boland returned to the school Monday afternoon, this time armed with a pistol, police said.
As parents were picking up their children about 3:20 p.m., a woman approached the school "exhibiting erratic behavior," Ashley Hall head of school Jill Muti said in a prepared statement.
A police report said Boland was pacing back and forth and mumbling to herself in the area where students gather for car pool pick-up.
The school was placed on lockdown and a faculty member approached the woman. The woman drew a gun from her bag. Faculty members tried to lead her away from the school. She stayed on the sidewalk and never entered the campus. The faculty members went back inside to call police.
Officers arrived a few minutes later and told the woman to drop the gun and get on the ground, according to a report. Boland responded by asking police if they wanted her to do some push-ups, the report states.
Boland sought treatment from a psychologist's office near the school in the past, according to police. Officers said they found her vehicle parked near that office Monday.
Officials searched the school's records, but could find no connection between Boland and Ashley Hall, Muti said in a follow-up statement to parents and faculty Tuesday.
"To the best of our knowledge, she was not targeting any specific person. All of our current information points toward this being a random incident," Muti said.
In August of 2010, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office charged Boland with third-degree assault and battery, State Law Enforcement Division records show.
Details of that incident were not immediately available Tuesday. Boland does not appear in electronic records for the Beaufort County Detention Center log or in electronic records filed by the Beaufort County Clerk of Court Office.
Boland was once among the state's top junior tennis players. She remained active in the sport until two to three years ago, according to Larry Scheper, who gives private lessons and has had students play against her. Scheper said he knew Boland for eight or nine years.
"She was never disrespectful to me," he said Tuesday. "I think she was likable... and she was humble."
Scheper also said that Boland could be an intense tournament player and sometimes came across to opponents as abrasive.
"Eventually I just realized that Alice was just Alice," Scheper said. "I'm praying for her."
The Charleston Post & Courier and reporter Anne Christnovich contributed to this report.