As the new school year ramps up across much of the country a 4-year-old student allegedly arrived at a Texas elementary school with a loaded handgun, prompting a lockdown and resulting in charges against their father.
The child brought the gun to John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Corpus Christi Wednesday morning. School officials learned about the weapon on campus at 9 a.m., the West Oso Independent School District said in a statement.
So far this year, there has been at least 181 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 77 deaths and 115 injuries across the U.S., according to a count by Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun violence prevention nonprofit.
As the nation still reels from the events in Uvalde, Texas which saw the deaths of 19 children and 2 teachers by a mass shooter, the school enacted lockdown procedures and a Corpus Christi police officer on duty at the campus “quickly took possession” of the gun and secured it, district officials said.
District administrators and additional officers from the police department arrived to assist with the lockdown.
'While we do not believe that students and staff were in any kind of imminent danger, as a precaution the campus had increased police presence and maintained a higher level of security at the school until the Corpus Christi Police Department gave us an 'all clear' at 10:30 a.m.," the district said.
Corpus Christi police officers went to the house of the student who brought the gun and identified the parents of the child as the owners of the firearm.
Paul Torres, 30, was arrested and charged with making a firearm accessible to children and abandoning or endangering child, police said in a release.
He was later released on bond according to online jail records. Lawyer information for him was not immediately available.
Police urged locals to securely store their firearms, saying guns should be unloaded, trigger locked and locked in a gun safe or pistol box, with ammunition locked separately. Keys should also be placed out of children's reach.
District officials said despite security measures in place, “we can never underestimate the role that all students, parents, and teachers play in keeping our schools safe and contributing to the overall success.”
Kids gaining access to guns unsafely stored in the home can have deadly consequences.
Guns were also the leading cause of death among children and teens up to the age of 19 in 2020, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mortality data, surpassing deaths from vehicle crashes, drugs overdoses or cancer.