14-year-old brings gun to Truckee school; parents may face charges
TRUCKEE, Calif. — A 14-year-old male was arrested Tuesday after police say he brought a handgun — which his parents allegedly left unsecured — to Alder Creek Middle School a day earlier.
No one was hurt, and students at the school were never in danger, officials said.
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District notified the Truckee Police Department at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday they had learned from a parent that a student may be bringing a gun to the school’s campus at 10931 Alder Drive in Truckee.
Officers determined the eighth-grader did not have a gun Tuesday, but had brought a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun to campus Monday during school hours, apparently to “show it off,” according to a TPD statement.
“The student had the handgun in his backpack and showed it to at least four other male students throughout the day,” according to the statement.
Officers located the firearm Tuesday at the student’s home, once they learned of the incident after interviewing the other students.
It was unloaded at the time, but had “unsecured ammunition in close proximity to the unlocked storage location in the home,” officials said.
“The student had found the unsecured firearm while looking for his mobile phone that had previously been taken from him by his parents for discipline purposes,” according to the TPD statement. “There is no evidence to believe the student intended to cause any violence or threaten anyone.”
Once TTUSD got the tip Tuesday from the parent of a student who saw the gun on Monday, TPD was contacted, and officers determined the student was riding a bus to school, TPD Chief Adam McGill said in a Tuesday phone interview.
With school at ACMS not starting until 7:40 a.m., McGill said it was determined, “the safest thing to do, rather than pulling the bus over … we allowed bus to freely come to campus, and then we intercepted him.”
TTUSD officials were on campus, including Superintendent Rob Leri, Tuesday, and a “shelter in place was initiated so the police could search for the reported gun,” according to a TTUSD news release.
The student was eventually arrested and released on a juvenile citation for felony charges of bringing a firearm on a school campus, according to police.
The case remains under investigation. It’s unclear if his parents will face criminal charges for not securing the firearm and ammunition.
“We’ll be referring the parents to the (Nevada County) District Attorney for review, and any charges against the parents, the mom or dad or both, would come from the DA,” McGill said. “We are not making an arrest … unless the DA charges.”
Disciplinary action will be taken by the school district against the 14-year-old student, and possibly against the four students who admitted to seeing the gun, according to TTUSD.
“This event was preventable and could have ended in tragedy,” McGill said in a Tuesday statement. “It should serve as an urgent reminder to gun owners. Not only are you required by law to prevent access to children, firearms are also a favorite target for burglars. If you own a firearm, be responsible and invest in a lockable storage device.”
Added Leri in a separate statement Tuesday: “The safety and security of our students is our top priority. We are grateful for the responsiveness of the Truckee Police Department and their partnership to help ensure that our students are safe. This incident serves an important reminder of how critical it is that students, parents and the community speak up when they observe something that is potentially unsafe on our campuses.”