By The Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) — Police are trying to determine how a Houston kindergartener got a loaded gun that he brought to an elementary school, where officials say it accidentally fired when it fell from his pocket as he sat down for lunch, wounding himself and two other students.
Some parents said the incident has made them think twice about safety at the school and they wonder if additional security measures, including extra officers and even metal detectors, are needed. School district officials said extra security would be in place Wednesday to allay parents’ fears.
One bullet was fired Tuesday around 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.
Houston police spokesman Victor Senties said it was too early in the investigation to tell if any charges would be filed.
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 taken to Texas Children’s Hospital. One of the boys, Khoran Brown, was treated and released. The girl, Za’Keyah Thomas, and the boy who brought the gun were in stable condition. The name of the boy who brought the gun was not released.
Brown’s parents issued a statement through the hospital. “It is a sad situation that this took place but we are thankful our son is in good spirits. He is already asking to get back to school,” the statement said.
Many parents who rushed to the school after the shooting said that overall, Ross is a good school and there haven’t been similar problems. Still, some parents said additional security measures, such as metal detectors, are needed at the school, which has about 470 students.
“I think every school should have metal detectors just for this reason,” said Lucy Becerril, 29, whose 6-year-old son, Carlos, was in the cafeteria during the shooting.
Shawn Dixon, 33, whose 10-year-old daughter Tyra is third-grader at the school, said he would support such security measures.
“Being that this is an elementary school you would think that it would be safe, but now this makes you think nothing is safe,” Dixon said.
Sarabia said district officials will be working with parents and the community to address any concerns they might have.
The kindergartner who brought the gun could face disciplinary action, including being sent to an alternative school for up to 180 days, said Houston school district spokesman Norm Uhl. He said no punishment has been decided yet.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.