Boy, 12, Arrested After Gun Goes Off In School Restroom
UPDATED: 10/16/2013 3:55 p.m.
BERKELEY, Ill. (CBS) — A 12-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday, after accidentally firing a gun inside a restroom at a west suburban middle school.
Berkeley Police Chief Dale Gustafson said police were called to MacArthur Middle School around 3:30 p.m. after shots were fired in the school.
Gustafson said a 12-year-old boy had a 9mm semiautomatic pistol in the waistband of his pants. The gun went off and damaged a toilet while the boy was in the restroom.
“It’s looking like it was more of an accidental discharge with the gun. He had taken the gun to school. We asked him why he even took the gun to school, and he … just flat out said he didn’t know,” Gustafson said. “So we don’t think there was anything, as far as he was angry with anybody.”
The student was alone in the bathroom when the shot was fired, Gustafson said.
The principal took the gun away from the boy, who was arrested and charged as a juvenile with unlawful use of a weapon.
Police were investigating how and where the boy got the gun.
In a letter to parents on Wednesday, Berkeley School District 87 said the boy never approached or threatened any students, staff, or visitors with the gun.
“The student’s conduct was a violation of law, and we are confident that local law enforcement will handle any criminal charges that are brought in an appropriate manner,” Superintendent Eva Smith wrote in the letter.
Smith said the boy would be immediately suspended, and the district would move to expel him for at least a year.
“The district does not tolerate weapons, or the threat of weapons, in our schools,” she wrote.
Berkeley police and a K-9 unit searched the boy’s locker, and adjacent lockers for additional guns and ammunition, but none were found.
In a 911 call, a woman at the school requests a police officer come to the scene.
“Hi. This is MacArthur Middle School. The principal requested that we have an officer come over. We found a gun in the school on a student.”
“We still have the student here.”
On Wednesday, Melissa Zenteno was still on the dark about what happened. Her son, along with other eighth-grade boys, were kept 40 minutes past dismissal on Tuesday. School officials did not tell the parents what was discussed.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “I did not know anything about that.”