MONROEVILLE (KDKA/AP) – Police confiscated a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun after a 6-year-old student at Ramsey Elementary School turned the weapon over to a teacher Wednesday morning.
The boy’s mother has also been arrested.
According to school officials, the gun was turned over to school administrators and police in Monroeville were called out just after 9 a.m. to investigate.
“It was found in a backpack. The 6-year-old immediately notified the teacher when he found it in his backpack,” said Chief Doug Cole, of Monroeville Police. “The weapon was made safe. Our school resource officer responded to the school, took over custody of the weapon and started the investigation.”
No students were hurt and classes went on as normal.
The school is part of the Gateway School District. Spokeswoman Cara Zanella says the situation was dealt with quickly. The school was never put on lockdown.
According to Monroeville Police, the student’s mother has been taken into custody in connection with the incident.
“Subsequently, the Monroeville Police Department served a search warrant on an apartment, I should say serve a search warrant, searched an apartment in conjunction with this,” said Chief Cole. “We do have one person in custody.”
Police say they have charged Stephanie Roth of Monroeville with recklessly endangering another person, endangering the welfare of a child and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Investigators say they believe the student did not know the gun was in the backpack. They say he immediately turned it over to a teacher when he found it.
School officials now say backpacks will be banned in Kindergarten through fourth grade starting Thursday.
“I know parents may feel this is a knee-jerk reaction, but we have been thinking about this and talking about this and now is the time,” said Dr. Nina Zetty, the superintendent of the Gateway School District. “So, starting tomorrow, no backpacks at the K-4 level.”
The investigation continues.
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