Mother charged after gun in her son’s backpack goes off at school, injuring seven-year-old classmate

Judge said case could have been ‘very different tragedy’

Gino Spocchia
Thursday 19 May 2022 14:03
<p>Parents wait to pick up their children at Walt Disney Magnet School in Chicago on Tuesday</p>

Parents wait to pick up their children at Walt Disney Magnet School in Chicago on Tuesday

A mother has been charged with child endangerment after a gun in her eight-year-old son’s backpack accidentally discharged at a Chicago school, injuring a classmate.

Prosecutors alleged in court on Wednesday that 28-year-old Tatanina Kelly’s son found a gun underneath her bed and took it to the Walt Disney Magnet School on Tuesday in the city’s North Side.

Police said the gun was in the boy’s backpack in a classroom when it went off just before 10am. The bullet allegedly ricocheted off the classroom floor and grazed the abdomen of a seven-year-old classmate, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. The child was taken to a hospital in good condition, police said.

A teacher then grabbed the backpack and gave it to security officers who found a Glock 19 handgun inside, prosecutors said during the hearing.

"This may not have been an intentional act, but it is a supremely negligent act," said Cook County Judge Michael Hogan in court. "We are inches away, possibly centimetres away, from a very different case and a very different tragedy."

Parents were told in an email from the school that the bullet "caused some debris to ricochet in your child’s classroom, which hit a member of our school community and caused minor scrapes."

The school did not respond to the Associated Press’s request for comment on Wednesday.

Ms Kelly’s attorney, Rodger Clarke, acknowledged that the gun should have been locked up and not just placed under the bed. However, he added: "This wasn’t something she (Kelly) planned or something she did on her own volition."

Mr Clarke told a judge it was a “one-time incident, not soon to be repeated,” NBC Chicago reported.

Ms Kelly, who has a valid firearm owners card, was handed charges for misdemeanour and child endangerment and released from Cook County Jail on $1,000 bond.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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