FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward State Attorney’s Office has decided not to press charges in the case of a 10-year-old who, police said, brought an unloaded gun to an elementary school in Fort Lauderdale.
Officials said on Wednesday night that Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor and prosecutors consulted and interviewed the child’s parents and opted against moving forward with charges.
The decision brings to an end a day filled with frightening moments and confusion for children who attend Walker Elementary School and their parents.
Fort Lauderdale Police responded to a call about a child bringing a gun to the school, located along Northwest Fourth Street and 10th Avenue, at around 8 a.m., Wednesday.
Responding officers were told the student and gun were secured before they arrived.
Police said the handgun was not loaded but was found in the 10-year-old’s backpack.
The events unfolded while children were eating breakfast. The academic day begins at 8:30 a.m. at Walker Elementary.
Student Noah Higgins described what he saw.
“We were inside the cafeteria, and we were eating, and it was a code yellow,” he said. “There was this little boy, but he said that a 10-year-old had a gun in his book bag. I was scared.”
Several parents later responded to the school to take their children home early.
“A kid did what? Wow, wow,” said parent Yvette Young.
Parent Nicole Higgins said she’s upset about the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“Yes, it’s very surprising. The school didn’t even inform us. They could have sent out an email, they could have called us or anything,” she said.
But a spokesperson for Broward County Public Schools said they did notify parents. Officials said they sent the first notification at 9:06 a.m., and three hours later, they sent a message from the principal explaining what happened.
A statement from BCPS reads in part, “As soon as school administration received information about a potential weapon on campus, the student was immediately located and his belongings secured before a code alert was issued. The school’s administration commends the quick actions of everyone involved in safely addressing and quickly resolving the situation.”
The school was on a code yellow, or a lockdown, but has since returned to normal operations.
Relatives of the child also responded to the school.
A man who identified himself as the boy’s grandfather said, “I don’t know what was going on, trying to find out what is going on.”
Seconds later, a woman walked up next to him and said, “We don’t answer more questions to the media. Come on.”
It remains unknown who owns the gun found in the child’s backpack.
“Nowadays, you can’t trust the kids. You have to check their book bags before they leave every morning,” said area resident Katie Brown.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office said they did not want to criminalize the behavior of a 10-year-old, adding that the safety of the community is of the utmost importance. Instead, they will refer the child’s family to the proper child protective services agencies.
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