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Student, 7, brings gun to St. Paul school, weapon goes off

ST. PAUL -- A student accidentally fired a handgun inside a St. Paul elementary school classroom full of students Thursday, Nov. 17, though no one was hurt, according to police and the school district officials.

ST. PAUL -- A student accidentally fired a handgun inside a St. Paul elementary school classroom full of students Thursday, Nov. 17, though no one was hurt, according to police and the school district officials.

A 7-year-old brought the .38-caliber revolver to Crossroads Elementary, according to Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman. The gun was taken into a mixed-grades classroom and discharged into the floor at 8:40 a.m., the school district said.

“Our investigators are looking into the incident,” police said in a statement on Facebook Thursday. “It appears there were no threats made to students or staff. The student who brought the gun to school and his family are fully cooperating as we work to figure out who the gun belongs to, how the child got ahold of it and what could have been done to prevent the incident.”

Ernster said it was to soon to say whether the 7-year-old’s parents’ could face charges.

Students were seated in the classroom at the time that the gun was fired, said St. Paul Public Schools spokeswoman Toya Stewart Downey.

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Neither police nor the school district said whether the first grader who brought the gun to school was the student who fired it.

“Today we got lucky,” police said in the statement. “But this incident should still serve as a reminder to anyone who owns a gun to keep it safe, secure and out of the hands of children.”

The Crossroads building contains two schools - one for Montessori-based instruction and another that emphasizes science - with a combined enrollment of 728.

The schools operate on a year-round schedule, and this week is an an optional intersession for students who want or need extra work. Stewart Downey said there were about 375 students in the building Thursday for various enrichment activities.

She didn’t know in which part of the building the gun was fired, but she said there were students from multiple grades in the classroom at the time, along with a teacher and teaching assistant.

Staff immediately confiscated the weapon, wrote Celeste Carty, principal at Crossroads Science and Crossroad Montessori, in an email to parents at 12:05 p.m. Thursday.

“Understandably, students were upset,” Carty wrote. “Our district crisis team and the police reassured the students that they were safe, that everything was OK and answered questions. The crisis team remained at the school throughout the day and will be available any time to talk to students.”

Carty also noted that “there are serious consequences for these actions and we will follow our standard discipline procedures.”

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By state law and district policy, students caught with firearms at school must be expelled for at least one year unless the school board decides otherwise.

In September, a shotgun was found in the trunk of a student’s car at Humboldt High School.

In October 2015, a Harding High School student was arrested for having a loaded handgun inside a backpack in a classroom, reportedly to protect himself from gang members.

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