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Mother charged after gun in eight-year-old's backpack goes off at school

Officers found a handgun inside the backpack (file pic)
Associated Press Reporter

A mother in the US has been charged with child endangerment after a gun in her son’s backpack accidentally discharged at school, injuring a seven-year-old classmate.

The 28-year-old woman from Chicago appeared in court on three misdemeanour child endangerment counts.

A judge ordered her release from Cook County Jail on 1,000 dollar (£800) bail.

During the hearing, prosecutors alleged that the woman’s eight-year-old son found the gun underneath her bed and took it to Walt Disney Magnet School on the city’s North Side.

The mother has a valid firearm owners identification card.

According to police, the backpack was in the boy’s classroom when, just before 10am on Tuesday, the gun discharged.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that prosecutors said during the hearing that the bullet ricocheted off the floor and grazed the child’s abdomen.

The child was taken to hospital in good condition, police said.

In an email to parents, the school’s principal said the bullet “caused some debris to ricochet in your child’s classroom, which hit a member of our school community and caused minor scrapes”.

The school did not respond to a request for comment.

A teacher then grabbed the backpack and gave it to security officers who found a Glock 19 handgun inside, prosecutors said during the hearing.

The woman’s lawyer Rodger Clarke acknowledged that the gun should have been locked up and not just placed under the bed.

But he said: “This wasn’t something she planned or something she did on her own volition.”

Cook County Judge Michael Hogan was not impressed by that argument.

“This may not have been an intentional act, but it is a supremely negligent act,” he said.

Judge Hogan continued: “We are inches away, possibly centimetres away, from a very different case and a very different tragedy.”

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