​5 Year Old Fires Gun At School; No Injuries Reported

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August 22, 2013

A 5-year-old kindergarten student fires a loaded gun inside a cafeteria at the Westside Elementary School in Memphis, Tenn., on Thursday. The boy was carrying the weapon before it went off, without shooting anyone.

5 Year Old Fires Gun At Westside Elementary School

However, the incident didn’t result in any injuries, and Westside is back in normal operation.

The Westside Elementary School student, 5, brought the gun to school in his backpack Thursday morning, according to school officials at Westside and at the Shelby County schools superintendent’s office.

While waiting for the opening bell in the cafeteria, the gun accidentally discharged once inside the boy’s backpack at about 7:42 a.m. CT during breakfast and before school started at 8 a.m., school officials said.

“Staff immediately took possession of that backpack,” said Christian Ross, external communication analyst for Shelby County schools. “Our Shelby County school security team were contacted as well as local law enforcement. They’re handling the investigation. From what we’ve heard, there’s no evidence of harmful intent.”

It’s unclear where the boy, who was not identified, got the gun. He will be disciplined “in accordance with the state’s zero tolerance policy” for weapons, according to a statement from school officials.

The school, located in north Memphis, serves students from kindergarten through fifth grade. WMCTV.com in Memphis reported some shaken-up parents were picking up their children from school.

No other details were released, including the type of firearm involved.

The incident comes just days after an Atlanta-area school shooting in which a man carrying nearly 500 rounds of ammunition opened fire in an elementary school’s front office before surrendering peacefully to police.