NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens school was placed on lockdown Thursday after a second-grader brought a gun to school.
It happened Thursday at the P.S. 215Q campus at Wave Preparatory Academy in Far Rockaway, the Department of Education said. While there are conflicting reports, police did tell 1010 WINS’ Al Jones and WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell that the 7-year-old boy brought a loaded .22-caliber handgun to school.
Sources told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello that when police found the gun, it was not loaded, but the boy had a separate ammo clip in his backpack that contained 10 bullets. It was later learned the backpack contained loose bullets as well, but it’s unclear if there was a bullet in the chamber, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Police also said a flare gun was recovered at the scene as well and that the investigation is ongoing.
The incident comes as the nation is gripped by debates over gun control and school security in the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Conn. where 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The mother of the 7-year-old boy was being questioned at the 101st Precinct stationhouse. CBS 2’s Tony Aiello has learned she ran to the school Thursday morning claiming her son had a dentist appointment, but police believe it was a pretext to search his bag, because she feared he had brought a gun to school.
In addition to questioning the boy’s mother, police also staked out the family’s Cornaga Avenue apartment building to talk to the much older half brothers of the 7-year-old, who may know where the firearms came from and how the boy got hold of them, CBS 2’s Carlin reported Thursday evening.
The DOE said the gun was found in the student’s backpack. The school was placed on lockdown and the gun was confiscated by the school safety officer, officials said.
Parent Janet Ihim was concerned but relieved as she picked up daughter Jazzmaia, who said she came eye to eye with the boy holding a gun.
“He said he was gonna shoot me and then he pulled it out,” the little girl said, adding when asked if the student took the gun from his backpack, “No, his pocket.”
Her mother said the student appeared to bring the gun into school to show it off.
“Thank God none of the kids got hurt. He just took it out for show and tell. Yeah, inside the classroom that’s why they put the building on lockdown, but everyone’s okay,” Ihim added.
Other parents said they couldn’t believe what they were hearing as the situation unfolded.
“I was scared, I didn’t know what happened,” father Edison Perez said. “You know, you’re at work and they call you and say something happened at the school. What are you going to do? Run.”
“I think we need some kind of security, we’ve gotta do something about this because it’s ridiculous,” father Israel Tavarez said.
The school handed parents a one paragraph note explaining that there was a lockdown. But some parents said that response was not enough.
“All I know is I came here, they said a second grader brought a gun to school and I said ‘how?'” a mother told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “I think that this is crazy and I don’t feel safe now having my baby going to school here. I don’t even know what to think anymore.”
“You should call kid’s parents and let them know,” a fuming parent told Haskell.
Students said they were equally shocked.
“On the speaker they said there was a hard lockdown. I ran to the back of the room. I was scared thinking that someone would do something to me,” Eneishe Perez said.
Upon learning the news, anxious parents waited outside the school.
“My wife called me and told me what’s happening. It’s crazy. I need my baby outside now. I don’t know. I need to see him,” Jelson Archala said.
“I think the parents never should have got guns in their house!” Aracelis Severino said.
“I guess when they do their investigation, the person will get into trouble for leaving it around for the kid to get it,” Ihim added.
No injuries were reported.
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