Lakewood Dad Says Boy, 10, Tried to Prevent School Shooting
LAKEWOOD — The father of a 10-year-old charged with having a weapon on an Ocean County public school bus adds more mystery to why he and a fourth-grade student had the gun.
The father of the older boy in Tuesday's incident told NBC 4 New York that the fourth-grader had told his son he was going to shoot on of their classmates, which scared him. The boy said he was taking the bullets out of his friend's gun and was not playing with it.
Video released by Lakewood police showed the boys, ages 9 and 10, sitting two rows behind the driver passing the .22-caliber handgun's magazine back and fourth as they put bullets in it. The gun is then placed in the older boy's backpack.
Police said another student reported what they were doing to a teacher, which led to the arrests in the school.
"My son is wrong because he should've went to the bus driver and handed in the gun or went to school and handed in the gun and he didn't," the father told the news outlet.
The father said both boys have been suspended from the Oak Street Elementary School but believes his son should be allowed back into school.
Lakewood school district policy states that "any pupil who is convicted or is adjudicated delinquent for possession of a firearm or found in possession must be immediately removed from the regular education program and provided with an alternative program pending a hearing before the Board of Education," district attorney Michael Inzelbuch said.
The boys' identities have not been disclosed by police due to their age. The face of the father was not shown during the interview.
A number of unanswered questions remain surrounding the incident. Lakewood police and Winters have not yet returned messages about the incident.
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How did the boys get the gun?
- Citing unnamed sources, NBC New York reported the gun came from under the mattress of the fourth grader's older brother.
Why did it take so long to recover the weapon?
- Lakewood school superintendent Laura Winters in an email clarified that the gun was not taken away after the fourth grader left the bus, as was initially disclosed by police. "After further review and clarification, the gun was secured during the first period of the school day," Winters wrote. She said once administrators were made aware of the weapon administrators utilized their experience and training and, in a non-intrusive manner, quickly secured what turned out to be a real gun.
Why was the school not placed on lockdown?
- District Director of Security John Stillwell said schools were not placed on a lockdown because of the quick response and containment of the situation."The reason we didn't go into a lockdown at the school was the threat was taken care of immediately," he said. "There was never a threat once the child was in [principal] Joseph Schroepfer's hands."
What did the boys need "protection" from?
- Winters told the Board of Education at a meeting hours after the incident that the boy brought the gun to school because he needed "protection." Neither the superintendent nor police have clarified that statement.
How many times did they bring a weapon to school?
- Lakewood police said the fourth grader may have brought the gun to school the day before it was found.
Why didn't the driver react?
- The two boys are seen sitting in the first row of the bus driver who keeps their eyes forward and on the road during the surveillance video. Audio from the video indicates the driver did not say anything.