A kindergarten student is in police custody after a handgun he brought to school accidentally went off in the school’s cafeteria.
The 5-year-old was waiting for the opening bell at Westside Elementary School in Memphis, Tenn., at around 7:30 a.m. when the handgun went off inside the child’s backpack, school officials said in a statement. No one was injured, WLOX reports.
“There is no evidence at this time of harmful intent; however, weapons of any kind are prohibited on campuses, and this student will be disciplined in accordance with the state's zero tolerance policy,” Shelby County Schools said in its statement.
School staffers took control of the backpack immediately after the firearm went off, the statement said. School security officers and the Memphis Police Department took the child into custody. If he is found guilty, he faces a 180-day suspension, CNN reports.
“They were doing like this [makes trigger motion with her hands] at each other and he said, ‘I got a gun in my backpack,’” Paris, a student at the school, told Fox 13 describing what she saw. “It makes me scared because some kids can get hurt and others can be safe. It’s sad,” she added.
The incident comes the day after an armed man carrying nearly 500 rounds of ammunition opened fire in an Atlanta elementary school’s front office.
Westside Elementary School parent, Preston Warmley, said the incident serves as a warning sign.
"We're gonna have to get together to see what we should do from this moment on because you know what you can do when you're sitting back watching it on the news but when it's happening right in your face, that's a lot," Warmley said.
Other parents agree.
“I think metal detectors should be in use at this school even though they are babies,” a mother of a child at Westside Elementary School told Fox 13. “You send your child to school to learn. It should be a safe environment and now you can’t trust them enough even to send them to school.”
Originally from Montreal, Zoë Mintz joined IBTimes in March 2013. A graduate from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, her writing has...