Gun in 8-year-old’s backpack explodes at school, mum charged

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago mother has been charged with child endangerment after a gun in her sophomore’s backpack accidentally discharged at schoolinjuring a 7-year-old classmate, police said Wednesday.

The 28-year-old appeared in court on Wednesday on three counts of child endangerment. A judge ordered her released from the Cook County Jail on $1,000 bond.

During the hearing, prosecutors alleged that the woman’s 8-year-old son found the gun under her bed and took her to the Walt Disney Magnet School on the north side of town on Tuesday. The mother has a valid gun owner’s ID card.

Police say the backpack was in the boys’ classroom when, just before 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the gun discharged. The Chicago Sun Times reported that prosecutors said in court that the bullet ricocheted off the ground and grazed the child’s abdomen. The child was taken to hospital in good condition, police said.

In an email to parents, the school principal said the bullet “caused debris to ricochet through your child’s classroom which hit a member of our school community and caused minor scratches.” The school did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

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

The woman’s attorney, Rodger Clarke, agreed that the gun should have been locked away and not simply placed under the bed. But, he said, “it wasn’t something she planned or something she did of her own volition.”

Cook County Judge Michael Hogan was unimpressed with that argument.

“It may not have been an intentional act, but it is an extremely negligent act,” he said.

He continued: “We are inches, maybe inches away from a very different case and a very different tragedy.”

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