No Criminal Charges For 7-Year-Old Who Fired Gun on School Bus. Parents Off the Hook, Too

The Mesa Police Department tells New Times that no charges will be filed against a 7-year-old boy who accidentally fired a loaded gun on a school bus full of children last week -- and there's a reason: he's only friggin' seven!

In case you missed it, the boy brought a loaded gun on a Mesa school bus full of kids last week. As the kid was moving the gun, which was in his backpack, it went off. Luckily, nobody was hit. Get all the details here (note the correction on the boy's age -- initially we were told he's 8).

Additionally, the boy's parents -- who own the gun -- will not be charged with any crimes, either.

As Mesa Detective Steve Berry explains, if the boy were placed in juvenile detention, because of his age, "he'd have to have someone help him get dressed everyday -- help him eat his cereal."

The obvious challenges of locking up a 7-year-old aside, Berry says the boy didn't even know how to operate the gun, and didn't understand the dangers of bringing a loaded weapon on a school bus.

The boy told detectives he found the gun in his mother's closet, hidden behind piles of clothes, and brought it to school for protection -- he said he would use it if someone tried to "take him."

When asked what he would do with the gun if someone actually tried to "take him," the boy told detectives he'd hit them with it. Apparently, he had no idea that pulling the trigger would cause the gun to fire.

As for the parents, Berry says they're not being charged because there's nothing to indicate that they're neglectful, and it appears they weren't careless with the gun -- it wasn't sitting on a coffee table, or anything.

According to Berry, the gun was hidden and in a case when the boy found it -- and it had a trigger-lock. However, neither the case nor the trigger-lock were locked when the boy found the gun.

Legally, the boy may be off the hook. However, he now faces a mandatory one-year expulsion from his Mesa elementary school, which is the district's policy for students who bring dangerous weapons on campus.School officials, however, reportedly say "district staff is researching how much latitude the board has when it comes to enforcing the policy. A lesser penalty might be applied when circumstances call for it."

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James King
Contact: James King