10-year-old daughter of Cook Co. corrections officer brings loaded gun to Richton Park school

ByEric Horng and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, May 11, 2023
Child of Cook Co. corrections officer brings loaded gun to school
Richton Park police said a 10-year-old girl brought her mother's loaded gun to Neil Armstrong Elementary School. Her mother, a corrections officer for Cook county, is charged.

RICHTON PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Richton Park police said a 10-year-old girl has been taken into custody after a loaded gun was found at a school Wednesday.

Police said they responded to Neil Armstrong Elementary School Wednesday morning after the principal called 911.

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The fourth grader allegedly shows the fully loaded semiautomatic handgun to other children , who then told the teacher 8:30 a.m. The teacher then confronted the student in a hallway full of kids, wrestling the weapon away from the girl.

"She had students telling her that the student had a gun, and she found the student in the hallway and took the gun from her," Richton Park Police Chief Demitrious C. Cook.

"The teacher going above and beyond to stop the child and to take the gun, that is not part of the training. That is part of being a hero," said Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Brunson.

Police said school officials then locked the gun in a safe.

"She cuffed the gun and she asked for help, and another teacher, without regard for his safety, came up and took the weapon," said Chief Cook.

Police said they took the girl, who is a student, into custody and are waiting to interview her. Police said they are very cognizant that she is a minor and the case must be treated with extra care.

In a letter to parents, school officials said a lockdown was initiated and all classrooms, restrooms and hallways, along with the full school grounds, were checked and cleared by police. Once the investigation was complete, the lockdown was lifted and school was canceled for the rest of the day.

"I was pretty uneasy because with everything going on in the world and all these mass shootings and stuff, you never want your kid to be in that position or be frightened," said Miya Smit, parent of a student at the school.

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The gun did not go off, police said, and it is not yet clear whether the student intended to use the gun. They did confirm that the gun was loaded.

Police said the gun was owned by the girl's mother, who authorities said is a Cook County Sheriff's Department corrections officer. The mother has now been charged with endangering the health and safety of a minor. She has also been stripped of her police powers pending the results of an internal investigation.

Police said they are still investigating why the girl brought her mother's gun to school.

"At this particular time, we don't thoroughly understand why the kid brought the weapon to school," Cook said.

The child has not been charged and police said she was taken to a hospital for evaluation.