The Main Stream

Dec 21, 2012 8:21 PM by Erika Flores

Kids and parents react to gun in backpack at Tucson school

TUCSON - Parents are upset that a gun was on school property, and they weren't immediately notified.

Thursday, there was a 911 call from Keeling Elementary School.

School officials found a gun in a six-year-old‘s backpack.

This led investigators to the child's midtown home near Blacklidge and Park where SWAT officers and hostage negotiators had to coax the boy's father out.

Police said the man was hiding behind a washing machine in the home because he had an outstanding felony warrant.

They suspected he was armed.

It wasn't until they let a canine after him that they got him out.

The father was arrested for the outstanding warrant and child abuse charges are pending because his son had a gun in his backpack.

Police are still investigating why that student had the gun in his backpack.

Parents and students from Keeling Elementary School are not taking this lightly.

Both parents and students alike are on edge after the Newtown shooting.

Maria Torres and her eight-year-old can't believe what happened.

"We're really worried because of all the horrible things that are happening in schools," said Torres.

A nurse found the gun inside the boy's backpack.

Police said the boy told them he didn't know the gun was there.

"Parents need to pay more attention to what their children are taking to school," said Torres.

Her daughter Alexandra said it scares her that a kid would take a gun to school.

"They shouldn't do that because they might kill all the other kids," she said.

Tucson police and Amphitheater Unified School District insists, students were not in danger because they said the gun never left the backpack, but Alexandra said after seeing the news of the Newtown shooting, she's on edge.

"Me and my mom were sad because the guy killed the other kids in the other school and the other people and the kids there were a lot of kids that died," said Alexandra.

She said she's relieved police confiscated the gun.

"I just don't want to die," said Alexandra.

Eight-year-old Zienna Flores said she's also relieved.

"Cause it was a loaded gun," she said.

Parents tell News 4 Tucson they are upset that they learned about the gun at school through the media and not through the district.

Amphitheater Unified School District had this response:

"Unfortunately, the timing of the situation yesterday and the unfolding investigation through the day did not allow us enough time to send home written notice on the last school day of the semester. We are, however, in the process of issuing a telephonic message today to each family household. This message will update our parents on what occurred yesterday.

The presence of a weapon of any kind is of great concern to us. We are continuing to work with law enforcement in the investigation of this matter, and we are very grateful for their prompt response.

Here is what we know: The gun was discovered in a student's backpack by a school staff member. The student was not even aware the firearm was in his backpack. It appears another family member may have used the backpack previously and failed to remove the gun after doing so. Thus, the weapon was never seen by any students and no students were threatened. The police removed the gun from the school immediately.

We are grateful for the way everyone worked together to make sure all of our children were safe throughout this situation."

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