Charges have been set against a Chicago mother after her child was somehow sent to school with a firearm in his backpack. Because minors are involved names have yet to be released publicly, but it was reported by The Associated Press that an eight-year-old boy went to class at Walt Disney Magnet School on Chicago’s North Side with a gun in his bag. It was reportedly around 10:00 a.m. yesterday (May 17) when the firearm discharged inside of the child’s classroom, striking another student.
A seven-year-old classmate was grazed in the abdomen after a bullet ricocheted off of the floor, but he was treated and reportedly was in good condition when he was transported to the hospital.
“The student said his mother’s boyfriend put the gun in the bag,” police dispatch relayed. “One student has some kind of scrape on his stomach but they don’t know how or where it happened and they did not want an ambulance.”
The child’s grandmother, Edwina Watkins, couldn’t believe what she learned of the incident. “It’s shocking for one for a little kid to have a gun, something that should be hard for an adult to have at a school.. all these things going on at schools. It’s frightening.”
Walt Disney Magnet School Principal Paul Riskus released the following statement to students’ families: “This morning during school hours, a gun was accidentally discharged on school grounds. The gun discharged in a backpack and hit the floor, causing some damage and releasing debris. Our staff immediately intervened, secured the gun, and contacted the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the CPS Office of Safety and Security. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured and everyone is safe. CPD responded to our school quickly and confiscated the gun. We are working closely with the CPS Office of Safety and Security to make a safety plan moving forward.
Please know that we are taking this situation extremely seriously, and CPD is investigating this incident. Many students are aware of this incident. If your child voices any fears or worries, or you notice a change in their behavior, please let us know and we can provide them with extra support. If you or your child ever see any concerning behavior, please contact a trusted adult at the school immediately so we can report the information to CPD.”
Security officers at the school quickly recovered the backpack and found that the weapon was a Glock 19 handgun. After speaking with the child’s mother, it was reportedly learned that she had “a valid firearm owners identification card.” She was arrested and made her first court appearance earlier today where she was tacked with “three misdemeanor child endangerment counts.” The mother was given $1,000 bond and released.
Her attorney reportedly argued that this was all a mistake, and while he agreed that the firearm should have been securely locked up away from the young boy, he told the judge that it wasn’t a staged attack.
“This may not have been an intentional act, but it is a supremely negligent act,” said Cook County Judge Michael Hogan. “We are inches away, possibly centimeters away, from a very different case and a very different tragedy.”