Tah - posted on 04/20/2011 ( 17 moms have responded )
HOUSTON -- A kindergartner who brought a loaded gun Tuesday to his Houston elementary school was among three students injured by fragments when it fired after falling from his pocket as he sat down for lunch, officials said.
One bullet was fired about 10:35 a.m. in the Ross Elementary School cafeteria, spraying fragments at the students, said Houston Independent School District Assistant Police Chief Robert Mock.
"Either some type of chips off the floor, or it could be pieces of the round that discharged," Mock said. "They had some cuts and stuff on their legs, they don't appear to be life threatening."
Kennedi Glapion, 6, who was being picked up from school by her grandmother, said she saw the gun after it fell under a cafeteria table. She was one of 42 kindergartners who were the first group of kids having lunch in the cafeteria on Tuesday when the gun went off.
"It dropped on the floor, under the table. It was loud, it was so loud," said the kindergartner, who added that after the gun went off she was scared and started crying.
Glapion also said she saw one of the children who was injured and pointed to her right foot to indicate where the child was injured.
Two 6-year-old boys were wounded, including the one who had the gun. The boy who brought the gun was injured in his foot and the other boy was grazed in his leg, said Sam Sarabia, the elementary chief school officer for the Houston school district. A 5-year-old girl was injured in her knee, he said.
The boy who brought the gun might have been injured by the bullet while the other boy and the girl might have been injured by shrapnel, Sarabia said.
All three children were in stable condition and seemed to be in good spirits, said Dr. David deLemos at Texas Children's Hospital, where the kids were being treated.
The hospital identified two of the children: the girl, Za'Keyah Thomas, and one of the boys, Khoran Brown. The name of the boy who brought the gun was not released.
Brown's parents issued a statement through the hospital saying, "It is a sad situation that this took place but we are thankful our son is in good spirits. He is already asking to get back to school."
Houston police spokesman Victor Senties said it is too early in the investigation to tell if any charges will be filed.
Upset parents rushed to the school in northeast Houston where yellow crime scene tape was strung and more than a dozen police and district patrol cars were parked.
Parents were allowed to take their children home for the day if they preferred to do so, and counselors were on hand as classes resumed for the afternoon, said district spokesman Norm Uhl.
"Although the danger is over, that doesn't make it any less frightening," Uhl said.
Most parents who were picking up their children after the shooting said that overall, Ross is a good school and there haven't been similar problems.
While some said it's not the fault of the school and the responsibility for what happened falls on the parents of the child who brought the gun to school, other parents said that the incident has made them think twice about safety and they wonder if additional security measures, including extra officers and even metal detectors, are needed.
"Being that this is an elementary school you would think that it would be safe, but now this makes you think nothing is safe," said Shawn Dixon, 33, whose 10-year-old daughter Tyra is third-grader at the school.
Dixon said he would be in favor of additional security measures such as metal detectors at the school, which has about 471 students.
Vonetta Moffett, 35, who has a 10 year old son and a 12-year-old son at the school, said even though she thinks the blame lies with the parents, she believes some kind of extra security is needed.
"The parents need to be more concerned about checking backpacks before their kids leave home. It's the parents' fault because the kids don't know better," said Moffett, a security officer at a medical building.
Sarabia said extra security officers will be at the school on Wednesday and district officials will be working with parents and the community to address any concerns they might have.
Uhl said that the kindergartner could face disciplinary action including being sent to an alternative school for up to 180 days. He said that no punishment has been decided yet.