MIAMI-DADE SCHOOLS

Police: Fifth-grader brought gun to Doral school

 

dsmiley@MiamiHerald.com

For the second time in a week, police say they have pulled a loaded gun out of a Miami-Dade school.

On Friday morning, schools police said they were called to John I. Smith K-8 Center in Doral, where a teacher reported that a fifth-grader brought a semi-automatic handgun to a special needs class. No one was hurt or threatened, said Schools Police Chief Ian Moffett.

Moffett said the student wrapped the gun in a blanket inside his book bag and showed it to a classmate. That witness told their teacher, who secured the bag and notified administration, Moffett said.

Officers were called to the school at 10415 NW 52nd St. and confiscated the gun. The boy was taken for a psychiatric evaluation under Florida’s “Baker Act.” Police did not identify the student.

Moffett said the gun had a trigger guard, which prevents a gun from firing.

“It was never pointed at anybody,” he said.

An investigation is ongoing. Moffett said the Department of Children and Families has been contacted.

The incident comes one week after D’Angelo Marte, 12, was shot in the leg May 24 at Redland Middle School. Police said a classmate brought a firearm to school in his backpack, and the gun fired when the bag was dropped to the floor.

D’Angelo has since been released from the hospital, and Moffett said the classmate was charged with a crime.

Statistics over the last three years show that Miami-Dade schools police investigate gun-related incidents about once a week on average. More than 30 guns were confiscated between the beginning of the 2010-11 school year and the beginning of April, according to a department spokesman.

School shootings remain rare.

“Obviously, it’s a concern that we’ve had two incidents” in one week, Moffett said. “But it reemphasizes that we have to make sure we do prevention and intervention programs, like gun safety programs for students and parents.”

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who has campaigned for youth safety in a joint effort with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, said the district is doing everything it can to keep guns out of school and confiscate those that make it inside. But he said schools officials can’t control whether a child has access to a gun at home - the case with both students who brought guns to school the last two Fridays.

Carvalho said he wants Miami-Dade School Board attorneys to review whether the district can pursue legal action against parents who don’t properly secure firearms.

“We’re doing everything we can,” he said. “We always review our procedures after these incidents. Thank God it was caught and dealt with immediately. But how in the world can the community accept a child having access to a gun that he then brings to school?”

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