13-year-old girl who brought gun to middle school released to house arrest

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A juvenile court judge has released a 13-year-old student at Carol City Middle School to house arrest, pending her trial.

Thursday morning, a judge released the teen to remain on house arrest with an ankle monitor, just one day after she brought a loaded gun to Carol City Middle School.

The incident took place before classes, Wednesday morning.

Sources told 7News surveillance video shows the girl walking out of a school office while pointing a loaded gun at three students. As her classmates began running away, she was immediately stopped by a school staff member who was able to take the gun from her.

No one was hurt. Police believe the gun jammed, which is why no shots were fired.

Miami-Dade Schools Police later took the teen into custody.

Parents and students at Carol City Middle School believe the 13-year-old has been bullied, which may have contributed to the outburst.

In addition to the teen’s arrest, an adult living at her house, 34-year-old Kerry Watkins, was arrested for not properly securing the weapon.

The gun was found to be improperly secured by Watkins. “That should have never been as accessible to that kid,” said a parent. “That should have been locked away in a safe place.”

7News has learned from parents and students that the girl was bullied and the attempted shooting was meant to be retaliation.

“She was bullied and she was picked on, and that’s what happened, I mean, retaliation,” said Juan Alvarez, whose child goes to the school.

“You go to a place to get educated and then somebody’s bringing a gun,” Deontae Lipkins said.

Watkins has since bonded out of jail.

“I understand how serious that is,” said the family’s attorney, Larry Handfield. “That’s something that everyone should be concerned with. However, she is not the person that is violent. She is not a threat.”

The family’s pastor, the Rev. Richard Paul Dunn, said he was relieved nobody was hurt. “Obviously the aunt, the first thing she said, she thanked God that the gun jammed,” said Dunn. “As counselor, Handfield said, it was purely divine intervention.”

The 13-year-old may only leave her home to go to school. She has also been ordered to stay away from the two victims at all times. Her next hearing is Dec. 12 at 8:30 a.m.

Handfield said the girl has had a difficult life and issues in school.

“The most important thing is to get her the type of help that she needs that gave rise to this type of conduct,” he said.

Police stepped up their presence on campus, Thursday, as parents expressed concern.

“It’s crazy and it’s sad, but its real, and we need to do something about it,” Yesney Terazon said.

Terazon also said she’d be moving her child to a new school.

While this presented a scary situation for students and family members, some parents interpreted this situation as a lesson for their children. “I told him, ‘Be careful,'” said a parent who later instructed her son, “‘Be aware of your surroundings and observe.'”

“If somebody is bothering you that bad, it’s important to talk to somebody,” another parent added. “You should never bring a weapon to school.”

Miami-Dade County Public Schools released the following statement:

“The quick-thinking actions of school staff helped avert a potential tragedy today at Carol City Middle School. This morning, before the start of the school day, a female student was arrested for possession of a weapon. This unfortunate situation could have been prevented if the weapon, which she brought from home, would have been properly secured. An adult male relative of the student was also arrested and has been charged with failing to secure a weapon. We are grateful to our courageous staff who took immediate, life-saving action. We want to remind every parent and member of our community that storing firearms properly can potentially save lives. It is not only prudent, but a legal requirement.”

The child has no criminal history and is unlikely to return to Carol City Middle School.

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