Unloaded Guns Found in Backpacks of 2 Red Clay CSD Students on Same Day

The guns were discovered in the backpacks of an 8-year-old and a 14-year-old.

Unloaded Guns Found in Backpacks of 2 Red Clay CSD Students on Same Day

Photo: Joaquin Corbalan, Adobe Stock

WILMINGTON, Del. — Unloaded guns were found in the backpacks of two Red Clay Consolidated School District students on the same day last week.

Wilmington Police were called to Shortlidge Elementary School on Thursday after a constable discovered the weapon in an 8-year-old’s backpack, reports Delaware News Journal. The department did not say what prompted the constable to search the student’s bag.

Earlier that day, a 14-year-old student at A.I. du Pont Middle School was also found with a gun. Delaware State Police said administrators were told that a student who rides the bus to school could “possibly be in possession of a gun.” When the bus arrived, the student was escorted by a school resource officer and administrators, and the unloaded gun was found in his backpack. The teen has been charged with underage gun possession, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of a weapon inside a school zone.

Although the guns were unloaded, the incidents come less than a month after a 6-year-old Newport News, Va., student shot his teacher, reigniting discussions of safe gun storage and thorough threat assessments.

Traci Murphy, executive director of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence, said residents need to be aware of Delaware’s safe storage law which makes it a crime for a person to “intentionally or recklessly” leave a loaded gun “where a minor or other person prohibited by law, or ‘unauthorized person,’ can access the firearm.”

“It is the responsibility of adults to keep kids safe from gun violence,” added Murphy. “Any firearm that ends up in the hands of a child is due to an irresponsible, negligent, reckless adult.”

In the Virginia incident, the boy’s family said the gun used during the shooting was properly secured. It was legally purchased by his mother, who could still face charges at the end of the investigation, according to Newport News Chief of Police Steve Drew.

The student, who suffers from an acute disability, was under a care plan that included his father or mother attending school with him every day. However, they did not accompany him on the day of the shooting.

The injured teacher, 25-year-old Abby Zwerner, was shot in the chest after a bullet passed through her hand. She has since been released from the hospital. An attorney for Zwerner said she plans to sue the school district after administrators allegedly downplayed several warnings about the student and didn’t take the necessary steps when she said he had a gun in his backpack.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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