A kindergartner who brought a loaded gun to his Houston elementary school Tuesday was among three students injured when the gun 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.
"It dropped on the floor, under the table. It was loud, it was so loud," 6-year-old Kennedi Glapion said as she was being picked up from the school by her grandmother.
Kennedi, one of 42 kindergartners having lunch in the cafeteria when the gun went off, said she was scared and started crying after it fired. She pointed to her right foot to indicate where she said she saw one child 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 students were treated.
The hospital identified the girl as Za'Keyah Thomas, and one of the injured boys as Khoran Brown, who was released from the hospital later Tuesday. The name of the boy who brought the gun was not released.
"It is a sad situation that this took place but we are thankful our son is in good spirits," Brown's parents said in a statement through the hospital. "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, 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 picked up their children after the shooting said Ross is a good school overall and that there hadn't been similar problems previously. Still, the incident made some wonder if additional security measures 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 support additional security measures such as metal detectors at the school, which has about 471 students.
Vonetta Moffett, 35, who has 10- and 12-year-old sons at the school, said even though parents need to be held responsible, 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 the kindergartner who brought the gun 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.
Associated Press writers Diana Heidgerd and Jamie Stengle in Dallas contributed to this report.