Loaded gun found in third-grader's bookbag in Lowellville
Lowellville police are investigating how a third-grade student got access to a loaded gun that was found in his backpack Tuesday morning.
Lowellville police chief Rick Alli tells 21 News the gun was found when the child passed through a metal detector on his way into the building. Alli said all bags are screened when students arrive.
Alli said the weapon was loaded, but no rounds were in the chamber and it was stored safely in the child's bag. Alli said at this point, they have no indication that the child was planning on causing any harm. Alli said the child had not been bullied or given any reason to believe they were planning to use the gun and the child has been cooperating with the investigation.
Alli said police will still need to speak with the child's parents to determine how he got the gun and why it was anywhere a young child had access to.
Lowellville superintendent Christine Sawicki said the school is following their disciplinary process and added that they have "zero tolerance" for this type of matter.
Final disciplinary decisions will be made once the investigation is complete.
A message sent to parents from Sawicki said the student was not on the school bus.
"Please know that everyone is safe and secure, the district's emergency management protocol was followed and most importantly, it was effective," Sawicki said in the message to parents.
Alli said the incident remains under investigation.
Lowellville schools implemented new safety measures at the start of the 2022/23 school year after a seventh grade student died days after a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the school's cafeteria in May of 2022. Those measures included portable metal detectors for outside the building.