A 12-year-old boy who allegedly fired a gun while showing it off at a Riverside middle school campus was in a juvenile detention facility Thursday, as the investigation continued into how he accessed the firearm.
The youth, whose identity was not disclosed due to his age, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of possession of a gun on school grounds and reckless discharge of a firearm.
According to Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback, about 5 p.m. Wednesday, the boy was in a multi-purpose room at Loma Vista Middle School on Arlington Avenue when he allegedly opened his backpack and began exhibiting a pistol inside so that his classmates could see.
“As he reached into the backpack, the gun fired and (the bullet) struck the table, then the ground,” Railsback said. “No students or staff were injured as a result of the gun being fired.”
On hearing the gunshot, school staff called 911 and immediately placed the campus on lockdown, though most students had gone home for the day, except those participating in an after-school program, like the suspect, according to Railsback.
He said patrol officers arrived within minutes and discovered the gun discarded on the ground, after which teachers directed the officers to the youth who allegedly had possession of it.
They took the boy into custody without incident and booked him into Riverside Juvenile Hall, pending a hearing at Riverside County Juvenile Dependency Court.
“Many students present were shaken by what occurred and safely released to their parents or caregivers,” Alvord Unified School District Superintendent Allan Mucerino said. “The school principal notified all families and staff of this incident, and a team of counselors (went) on campus … to provide counseling and support services to students and staff.”
Officers visited the boy’s home under the Riverside County School Threat Assessment & Response Protocol, and with the consent of the boy’s family, a search was conducted, resulting in “additional firearms (being) collected by officers for safekeeping,” Railsback said.
“We are fortunate this incident was quickly resolved in a safe manner, thanks in part to the collaboration between school staff and our officers,” Riverside police Chief Larry Gonzalez said. “The safety of our students and staff will continue to be a top priority on all school campuses.”
Gonzalez reminded parents and guardians to securely store all firearms inside their residences.