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2nd grade student brings loaded gun to Virginia elementary school

Authorities said the firearm was confiscated from Oak Grove/Bellemeade Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia, without incident.
2nd grade student brings loaded gun to Virginia elementary school
Posted at 8:44 AM, Feb 22, 2024

A second grade student brought a loaded gun to Oak Grove/Bellemeade Elementary School on Tuesday, Richmond Public Schools Chief Wellness Officer Renee Parks told the Richmond School Board in an email obtained by Scripps News.

"Thanks to the brave peers who were not afraid to speak up, the Care and Safety Associate was able to confiscate the gun," the email read. "[Richmond Police] was called and all subsequent after actions (threat assessment, CPS call, notifications to school families, etc.) are now underway."

Richmond Police confirmed officers were called to the school on Tuesday around 3 p.m. to investigate.

"Officers arrived and staff at the school reported they were made aware of a juvenile student who had been in possession of a firearm in the school," a Richmond Police spokesperson told Scripps News. "Officers recovered the firearm. There were no injuries."

Richmond Police confirmed that the gun was loaded but said the incident was still "under investigation."

SEE MORE: Schools across US are adapting safety codes because of gun violence

The email from Richmond Schools said they were gathering additional details and were "prepared to support the student and family with resources."

"I was like, 'Wait, a kid brought a gun to school?'" Elonda Jackson said. 

Jackson has a kindergarten student and a first grade student at the school.

"I check everything," she added. "As a parent, you should want to check everything. And check your kid's backpack. Because you never know what they're taking to school. Prime example, somebody brought a gun to school. Where was the parent?"

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney shared this reaction Wednesday.

"I'm frustrated, I'm mad, because you should know what's in your child's bookbag when they leave home, and if you don't, that's a problem," Stoney said. "Lock up your damn guns. Lock up and safely store your guns so they don't get in the hands of your kids. It's simple."

SEE MORE: Most school shootings caused by guns taken from relatives

Bob Argabright, a well-known mentor in the school community, said the area is known for being safe. He's now asking parents to get involved with the school system, to prevent this kind of thing from painting it in a different light.

"Doesn't make any difference if you point the finger at the school system. They cannot be the teachers, the mentors, the parents, and so on. It just doesn't work that way," Argabright said. "I don't want this community to be defined by the act of one second grader. We've never had an issue at Oak Grove. Never really had an issue at this community."

Police say no charges have been filed against anyone at this time. The school district said it's addressing possible disciplinary actions based on the student code of conduct.

The shooting of Abby Zwerner

Last year, a Virginia mother was sentenced to two years in prison after her 6-year-old son shot and injured his teacher in a Newport News elementary school.

SEE MORE: Documents show 6-year-old who shot teacher made unsettling statements

Deja Taylor’s son told authorities he got his mother’s 9mm handgun by climbing onto a drawer to reach the top of a dresser, where the firearm was in his mom’s purse. He concealed the weapon in his backpack and then his pocket before shooting his teacher, Abby Zwerner, in front of her first grade class.

Taylor initially told investigators she had secured her gun with a trigger lock, but investigators said they never found one.

This story was originally published by Elizabeth Holmes at Scripps News Richmond.

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