Child brings gun to Fort Lauderdale elementary school

A 10-year-old child brought a handgun to a Fort Lauderdale elementary school Wednesday morning, the latest scare in a South Florida school year that has already seen a number of threats and weapons incidents.

Fort Lauderdale police say they were called to Walker Elementary School at 1001 Northwest 4th Street just after 8 a.m. when an unloaded gun was found in the student’s backpack.

The school returned to normal operations shortly after that. For a brief time, it was under a code-yellow lockdown, which generally means the school doors are locked as regular classroom instruction continues.

The student was not arrested, at the request of the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

“Investigating detectives reached out to the Broward County State Attorney’s Office who advised them not to take the child into custody,” Fort Lauderdale Det. Ali Adamson said in an email. “The Broward County State Attorney’s Office asked for the report of the incident to be provided to their office for a referral.”

The Broward State Attorney’s Office released the following statement: “After speaking with detectives and reviewing the circumstances and available evidence, prosecutors agreed that the appropriate response is to make sure that the family gets the help and services they need. They are being referred to the appropriate child protective agencies, rather than criminalizing this 10-year-old child. Our primary concern is the safety of the community. As you know, the gun was not loaded and school authorities handled the matter appropriately when they were notified that the child had brought a gun to school.”

Some frustrated parents rushed to Walker Elementary to pick up their children after hearing news of the gun.

A parent told Local 10 News that she found out about the scare from a news alert, not the school, and said she is concerned about the number of guns being reported at schools across South Florida this year.

“I feel like they do need metal detectors and checking backpacks, because this is ridiculous,” parent Monique Higgins said. “It’s like an everyday thing kids are showing up with guns. … You telling me that you can’t control kids? You telling me you can’t monitor your kids?”

Another parent said he did get a text message from the school saying it was on a code yellow but that everyone was safe.

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