For at least the third time this year, a 6-year-old has brought a gun to school. 2 adults are now facing charges
A woman in Pennsylvania and a man in North Carolina were charged this week after a six-year-old in each case brought a gun to school, officials said, marking at least three times an elementary school student has brought a weapon to campus this year, including when a six-year-old allegedly shot his teacher in Newport News, Virginia, last month.
In Pennsylvania, a mother in Norristown was arrested after her 6-year-old son brought a gun to Joseph K. Gotwals Elementary School on February 9, prosecutors said.
Jasmin Devlin, 30, turned herself in Tuesday and has been arraigned on charges of felony endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment for failing to secure a firearm in her home, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. It is unclear if Devlin currently has an attorney.
Police were alerted to the gun on campus after a group of students on a school bus with the 6-year-old that morning told the school’s secretary he showed them the weapon and bullets.
“The school’s secretary immediately brought the boy into the office, looked in his backpack and saw the firearm. She then called Norristown Police,” the release said.
Police believe the boy found the weapon – a 9 mm Jimenez Arms semi-automatic handgun – in a dresser in his mother’s room the night before bringing it to school, prosecutors said. His 10-year-old brother took the bullets out of the gun and was pointing it at his brother, pretending to shoot him, the news release said. The 6-year-old told detectives he returned to his mother’s room in the middle of the night, put the firearm in his backpack and took it to school, according to the release.
“I would like to commend the children who notified school officials immediately, thus preventing another tragedy at a school,” Norristown Acting Police Chief Michael Bishop said in the news release. “These children are the true heroes in this unfortunate incident. Their notification to school officials resulted in an immediate response by Norristown Police, ensuring the safety of everyone at the school.”
Devlin obtained the gun through a straw purchase conducted by a Norristown man on March 4, 2022, the statement from the district attorney’s office said. Straw purchases occur when someone buys a gun for another person who is legally ineligible to buy one.
Devlin’s bond was set at $50,000 and she’s been ordered to not have contact with children as part of her bond conditions. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for February 24.
In North Carolina, Marvin Ray Davis, 58, was charged with a misdemeanor count of improper storage of a firearm to protect a minor after an unloaded 9 mm handgun was discovered in a 6-year-old’s backpack at Fairview Elementary on Tuesday, according to a news release from the Rocky Mount Police Department.
A school resource officer searched the child’s backpack after being notified by administrators that a student was in possession of a firearm, the release said.
“The backpack was secured by staff on campus and the child was removed from the classroom. There were no threats made with the weapon and it was never displayed by the child,” police said.
Davis is not related to the child but did live in the same home, a department spokesperson told CNN. He was issued a $4,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Rocky Mount Court on March 1, the release said.
It’s unclear if Davis has an attorney and CNN has made several attempts to contact him. CNN has also reached out to Nash County Public Schools for comment.
“The situation … should be a reminder to all gun owners to secure their weapons in a safe manner so that minors cannot possess them,” Rocky Mount Police Chief Robert Hassell said. “This was a preventable situation,” he added.
The cases are particularly concerning after police said a six-year-old shot his first-grade teacher in Virginia on January 6. The teacher is recovering from a gunshot wound to the chest and the school has since reopened with new security measures in place, including metal detectors.
In Pennsylvania, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele called the incident there “a frightening reminder of the fact that children can and do find unsecured firearms in a home, and they play with them. Thankfully, these young boys were not shot or injured in their home, and no one was shot or injured at school thanks to the quick action by school personnel.”