SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Police say a Lowcountry mother will not face charges after she accidentally placed a gun inside her son's book bag which he discovered while at a Summerville elementary school.
Dorchester District Two spokesman Pat Raynor said the 3rd grade student found the gun in his book bag and immediately showed it to his teacher at Newington Elementary.
A resource officer retrieved the firearm, Raynor said, and parents were told about the incident by phone and with a letter.
"Through the investigation, it was determined that the juvenile did not place the firearm into his backpack and that it was mistakenly placed in there by his mother while she was carrying multiple items around the residence," Nick Santana with the Summerville Police Department said.
Santana said the police department commends the boy for notifying the proper authorities when he found the firearm and there are no plans to charge him or his mother.
The investigation started Monday morning when an officer responded to the school following a report of a gun in a student's backpack.
The principal told the responding officer she had been advised by school officials that a student had a firearm in his backpack; the backpack had since been retrieved and was lying on the principal's conference table in her office.
The officer saw a silver and black Smith and Wesson 9mm semi-automatic pistol inside the bookbag. The pistol was loaded with 15 hollow point rounds, and the weapon was not chambered.
The student told the officer that he had no prior knowledge of the gun in his backpack until he discovered it when he arrived in class and emptied his backpack.
Police say as soon as the student realized there was a pistol in his backpack he told his teacher; the teacher said during the morning news show, she was told by the student that he had located a pistol in his backpack.
Officers also spoke to a man who was at school to pick the student up for a doctor's appointment.
The man said he did not place the weapon inside the book bag, and told officers that the gun belongs to the child's mother who was unable to find the weapon Sunday night and Monday morning. The man said "he searched the entire residence and could not find the weapon."
The mother gave a statement to investigators which stated that on Sunday night she went upstairs carrying her gun, a jacket and a water bottle.
"She was carrying her pistol under her armpit because she had these other items with her," a police report stated.
According to the mother, her child was on the floor playing when she told him to study his vocabulary words. The mother said the book bag was on the floor at the time.
The mother said she placed her water bottle on the dresser, and while the pistol was still under her arm, she somehow "accidentally" placed the pistol inside the book bag, then took her son's study sheet out of the bag.
The mother told investigators she and her son then sat on the floor and began to work on the study sheet.
After finishing, the mother said she placed the study sheet back inside the book bag and placed it near the bedroom door.
The mother told police when she woke her son up for school, she zipped the book bag up, but never lifted it up off the ground.
Authorities say the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office was also advised of the incident because the family resides in their jurisdiction.
The weapon was later released to the mother.