SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A 13-year-old boy was brought into custody Tuesday for bringing a fully loaded semi-automatic handgun to Ed Smith K-8 School in Syracuse.
In a joint press conference with the Syracuse Police Department, Syracuse City School District Superintendent Jaime Alicea said school officials were tipped off by a parent that called to inform them her child saw an eighth-grader was bringing a handgun to school.
When the 13-year-old boy walked into the building, he was greeted by the School Sentry and principal. After the student became belligerent in the principal’s office, the School Sentry detained him and the fully loaded semi-automatic handgun was found in the boy’s waistband under his shirt.
Syracuse Police were immediately called to the school, arrested the eighth-grader, and brought him into custody.
“We don’t know where this was going to go, we have no idea,” SPD Chief Cecile said during the press conference. “But when a student and a child is brave enough to tell their parents and the parents are brave enough to call the school district, this is how you prevent things from happening.
It’s unclear why the student brought the handgun to school, Chief Cecile said the parents and their child refused to speak with investigators. But others are talking, asking how safe are our schools?
“The school is safe,” Superintendent Alicea said. “We will continue to do everything we can to make sure our buildings are safe for our students, our staff, and our families.”
Superintendent Alicea said that will include conversations with the Board of Education about whether metal detectors and School Resource Officers are needed in elementary schools.
“We had 23 SROs at one time and through attrition, they’ve been whittled down to just the high schools now. We just don’t have the numbers to do that, but if it was put in the budget and we had the numbers I think that could be valuable,” Chief Cecile said talking about the potential need for more School Resource Officers in the district.
But with gun violence on the rise in our community, there’s no simple solution.
“We have to get our community partners to go out and engage with the families and these students that are doing this these children to show them that this is not the lifestyle they want. It leads to only two places, the graveyard or prison.”Chief Joe Cecile, Syracuse Police Department
The 13-year-old boy was arraigned Tuesday afternoon and lodged at the Hillbrook Juvenile Detention Center. He is facing three felony charges: criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, criminal possession of a firearm, and criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds.
The student is suspended from school and will not return until the investigation is complete and the district holds a superintendent hearing.