9-Year-Old Brings Gun to School: Las Vegas Police

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
September 20, 2018US News

A 9-year-old boy was caught with a gun at an elementary school in Las Vegas, police said.

Clark County School Police said officers were called to Helen Marie Smith Elementary School on Wednesday, Sept. 19, around 8:45 a.m. after school officials received an anonymous tip.

The student was taken into custody, but not arrested, and officers recovered an empty .22-caliber gun.

The student, who has not been named, was referred to The Harbor, which is a diversion program for first time juveniles who get into trouble, reported CBS 8. The student is too young to be booked into juvenile detention.

“Taking a 9-year-old to juvenile detention, I don’t think that would help them,” John “Jack” Martin, director of The Harbor told Las Vegas Review-Journal. “There are literally hundreds of things that could be going on, and we want to look at the most pressing. And we want to make sure we put guards in place to address those things.”

The student will be expelled, which state law requires when a gun is brought onto school property, Assistant Superintendent Tammy Malich said.

The 9-year-old showed the gun to another student, and a third student overheard the discussion and reported it to a teacher. Social Services and Child Protective Services were also notified, according to KTNV.

It’s the eighth gun incident since the county started its 2018-19 school year; the others have been at high schools.

Father Could Face Charge

The father of the 9-year-old could face consequences in the case after Clark County School District Police Capt. Roberto Morales filed a charge of one count of child endangerment.

The decision to move on the charge is up to the Clark County District Attorney’s Office, which received the file.

Morales said on Thursday he filed the charge because the gun was unsecured in the family home, allowing the 9-year-old to obtain it.

The gun didn’t belong to the father but he had “authority over the weapon, so it’s his responsibility to secure,” Morales said, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson said Wednesday that he couldn’t recall charging a parent for a child bringing a gun to school previously.

“But there could be circumstances where we could bring charges,” he added. Wolfson has brought charges against other cases when a child obtained a parent’s gun, including the parents of 4-year-old Bradley Whitis. The parents were charged with child abuse after Whitis died last year from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Parents React

Several parents said they were stunned by what happened.

“Why did he bring it? Did he think it was a toy or did he want to hurt someone?” Samantha Johnson told KTNV. “I honestly want to think it was because he thought it was a toy.”

“We’ve had a couple of different ones because of October 1 and different things that have happened at schools,” Shellie Tingey told CBS.

“It’s frightening to hear your kids talking about hard lockdowns, but we just talk about it and as we discuss as a family, I kind of take the temperature of what they’re comfortable with,” she said.

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