By Steve Mosco
A Far Rockaway mother faces criminal charges after authorities found that her 7-year-old son was packing more than lunch in his backpack last week.
Deborah Farley, 53, allegedly sent her son to Wave Preparatory Elementary School last week with a .22-caliber handgun, ammunition and a flair gun and later tried to pull him out of the school using a dental appointment as a ruse after she remembered stashing the weapons and bullets in his knapsack the night before, the Queens district attorney said.
“The defendant faces serious criminal charges,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “It is disturbing to think of what could have potentially occurred in this case if authorities had not found out about the handgun when they did. Illegal firearms pose a serious and deadly threat to public safety.”
Brown said the child’s mother has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of marijuana, which was discovered when authorities searched her residence.
Farley is currently being held on $35,000 bail and is due back in court Feb. 6.
According to the criminal complaint filed by the DA, Farley told investigators she had purchased the firearm for protection against local thugs and, the night before the incident, placed the pistol and flare gun in her son’s school bag. Sometime after dropping her son off at the school, at 535 Briar Place in Far Rockaway, Farley realized her son was armed and raced to pull him out of school, claiming he had a dental appointment.
Authorities said she successfully signed her son out but could not find the weapons, which her son said he had given to a classmate. Farley then went back to the school and told the principal that there was a gun in the building.
The principal searched the child’s classmate and found the unloaded, orange flare-gun, according to the criminal complaint. Police, who were called to the scene along with school safety officers, then searched Farley’s son a second time and found the unloaded firearm, a full magazine with 10 .22-caliber rounds of ammunition and a clear bag containing 14 rounds of .22-caliber ammunition from a purple bag inside the school bag.
After the gun was located, authorities put the school on lockdown. Farley was arrested a short time later and a search of her home on Cornaga Avenue yielded four rounds of .22-caliber ammunition in a cardboard box and seven small bags of marijuana, the DA said.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.