By Joe Anuta and Connor Adams Sheets
Officials, parents and the NYPD were stunned after authorities said an 8-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun into a Flushing elementary school last Thursday and sold it to a fellow third-grader for $3.50.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly spoke about the incident at a news conference Friday.
“We in the last two years just in buy-back programs in churches have bought back 6,500 guns. That’s an indication of what’s out there. Here you have a young boy who sees a gun in his house and sells it, so there’s no question about it. It’s an issue.”
Both the boy and his father were charged with criminal possession of a weapon, according to the Queens district attorney. Additionally, the father was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.ï»¿ The boys were not identified.
“The whole idea of a second- or third-grader carrying a loaded firearm into a crowded school and selling it is very disturbing on so many levels,” Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement.
The deal was discovered at around 3 p.m. after the second boy brought his purchase home to show his mother.
“‘Mom, I think it’s real.’ He pulled it out and hands it to me,” the mother said, according to the New York Post. “Oh, my God! I could see it’s a 9 mm. I was flipping out.”
Police said she immediately took the pistol, which contained three rounds of ammunition, and returned to PS 107, at 167-02 45th Ave.
An official at the school then called police.
Lisa Benda is raising a young daughter on a street near PS 107, where she may one day become a student. She said she was “shocked” to hear about the incident from a friend.
“It’s pretty crazy. I heard that and didn’t believe it was here,” she said. “We need to parent and set a good example and look at this. I don’t think you can blame the school or teachers, but they need to look at what happened, how it could have happened.”
The gun was a 9 mm Taurus semi-automatic pistol and had its serial number filed off, likely to make tracing its origins more difficult, the DA said.ï»¿
It belonged to the first boy’s father, 54-year-old Ignacio Galvan, the DA said.
Galvan told police that he kept the loaded weapon on a shelf in his house and was not aware it was missing, the DA said.
The boy who bought the gun was not charged, the DA said.
City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said, “It’s really a sad situation when you have an 8-year-old who brought a gun into school and then sold it for $3. That’s something that can’t be tolerated.”
James McClelland, a spokesman for City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing), said the incident was handled well by school officials and law enforcement.
“Council member Koo is happy that no one got hurt, that the parent was diligent in notifying the school immediately and that the principal contacted the proper authorities,” he said. “The parent should be held accountable for putting not only children in danger but innocent schoolchildren.”
State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said parents need to be more vigilant when it comes to guns and children.
“This incident should be a serious reminder to all parents and gun owners that there is zero tolerance for guns getting into the hands of the wrong people, especially our children,” she said in a statement. “It is part of a parent’s job description to snoop on our kids and to mind their business.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 917-600-6286.