VANCOUVER, Wash. – An 11-year-old boy who allegedly brought a handgun, 400 rounds of ammunition and multiple knives to school told officers a "voice in his head" had told him to do it.
The incident happened Wednesday at Frontier Middle School. The school and the elementary school next door were put in a lockdown for two hours once the weapons were discovered.
No one was injured, but it was certainly alarming.
Police said the boy was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, but court documents indicate the court found probable cause only for attempted assault, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a weapon at school.
"It's scary because my daughter comes here for an education and I have to worry about some kid being irresponsible and bringing something that can hurt her," said parent Brittanie McWoods.
According to a Declaration of Probable Cause for the boy's arrest, it all started when a mother called Frontier and told them she suspected her son had taken some kitchen knives to school.
School officials immediately pulled the child into the principal's office and that's when they say they discovered the boy was carrying an unloaded .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun in one of his pants pockets and two loaded .22 caliber magazines in another pocket. More ammunition and the knives were found in the backpack, police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.
"I have to applaud the parent in regards to getting a handle on this early before something happened," said Deputy Prosecutor Rick Olson.
According to police, the boy told officers that "a voice in his head" was telling him to kill a fellow student who had been bullying another boy and had been calling him gay. The boy said he had planned to shoot the 'bully' in the arm and then shoot himself in the head.
The 11-year-old appeared in juvenile court on Thursday where a judge ordered a mental competency hearing, which is scheduled for Friday. In the meantime, he will remain in custody.
His parents were in court with him and later issued the following written statement:
"Yesterday, our family noticed some items missing from our home. Immediately, we contacted the school to alert them of our concerns. We are at a loss for words and deeply saddened for the fear that these circumstances have caused. We are cooperating with law enforcement, school personnel and mental health officials to ensure our son gets the help he needs. We are asking for privacy at this time and will not be providing any further statements."
Parents were notified through social media and a letter sent home with students, said Evergreen Public Schools spokesman Kris Fay. The boy has been expelled. He did not have a reputation as a troublemaker, Fay said.
"This kid has not been on the radar for this," he said.
The school will review the incident, but Fay said it appears all the protocols were followed.
"From the safety standpoint, everything went well yesterday," he said.
Could the boy's parents be held responsible since police say he took the gun from home? We talked to police and the prosecutor in the case and there is no law in Washington that specifically states a parent can be held accountable for when a kid uses their gun for a crime.