by Rachel Ogbu
A schoolboy from Utah caught with a gun at school told administrators he brought the weapon to defend himself in case of an attack similar to the mass shooting last week in Newtown, Conn.
The sixth-grader had an unloaded .22-calibre handgun and ammunition in backpack and according to one report, the boy pointed the gun at another child’s head.
The 11-year-old was held in juvenile detention on suspicion of possessing a dangerous weapon and aggravated assault after other students at the suburban Salt Lake City elementary school told police he threatened them with the handgun.
Teachers and administrators at West Kearns Elementary School confronted the boy in class Monday after students reported the weapon, said Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley.
The boy told others his parents sent him to school with the gun for protection, which his parents adamantly deny, Horsley said.
“The family is rocked by this. They have been very forthcoming,” Horsley said.
The boy was expected to be charged in juvenile court Tuesday, Horsley said.
“This kid made a mistake, and he knows it,” Horsley said. “He feels bad about it, and his parents are co-operating with the investigation. He will not be coming back to this school.”
No one was injured.
According to reports, two other Utah schools were dealing with rumours of gun possession by students that turned out to be false, underscoring fears spread by the Connecticut shooting.