Two seventh grade boys at Martin Van Buren School were taken to the juvenile detention center after a .22 caliber handgun went off in a classroom. One of them apparently brought the gun to school and tried to sell it to a buddy.
“One guy asked another guy ‘do you want to buy a gun’ and then I guess he gave the gun to him and he was playing with it and then it went off in class,” said seventh grader Myliah Springs.
Springs narrowly missed getting hit by the stray bullet. The gun apparently went off as one of the boys tried to conceal it in his pants pocket. Myliah told Fox40 News that she was shocked and a little scared after the incident.
“Everyone jumped. They were shocked and the teacher was shaking,” said Springs.
“It doesn’t happen here often, but as you look around the country it’s the thing all of us fear the most,” said Stockton Unified School District police chief James West.
The police arrived at the school two minutes after the incident and parents were notified through the school’s automated phone system. It said everyone was safe and that the children in the classroom would get counseling if needed.
Still, a handful of parents took their kids out of school early. Donna Jordan came to get her daughter.
“I send her to school to get an education and all this shooting and gun playing…it’s ridiculous. It’s not safe nowhere any more,” said Jordan.
Patty Chincorini came to get her niece and may not enroll her daughter at Van Buren. She believes that the south Stockton neighborhood is unsafe.
“I was going to put her in school here next week but not anymore. I’m going to make sure my sister pulls (my niece) out or school too and have her home schooled,” said Chincorini.
Everyone is relieved there were no one was injured or killed. The gun had three rounds in it when it went off. The stray bullet was flattened against a soft sound-deadening floor and did not ricochet.
“Bullets are stupid, they don’t know where they’re supposed to go, they just go and I’m glad the casualty was the floor,” said West.
The two boys are not only in trouble with the school district which may start suspension or expulsion proceedings, they are also in trouble with the law. West says at the very least it’s a crime for minors to be in possession of a firearm. An investigation will determine how the boy got the gun.
“They had other interests when they brought (the gun), but it was not about bullying or retaliation or being afraid of something,” said Van Buren Principal Ione Ringen.
Sonseeahray Tonsal and Ian McDonald contributed to this report.