The mother of a child who brought a gun to school has been charged with child abuse.
The handgun was found in the 7-year-old child’s possession at César E. Chávez Elementary School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on May 3, according to the school district.
Officials said the gun was not loaded and no threats were made.
In addition to charging the child's mother, 32-year-old Aubrey Wilson, her fiancee, 29-year-old Chelsea Berkley, is charged with felon in possession of a firearm.
Court documents say the boy found the gun in a bedside drawer, placed it inside his backpack and brought it to school. He reportedly told investigators he hadn't seen the gun before, adding his mother instructed him not to tell anyone about it.
Wilson reportedly told police in an interview Berkley purchased the gun, moved it to the drawer from the bedroom closet and forgot about it.
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Authorities say Berkley admitted the gun was hers and that she bought it on the street for $150.
Berkley has been imprisoned for unrelated charges since November, according to court documents.
"This demonstrates the seriousness with which we take these cases," said Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker. "When I say 'we,' that being GRPD and the Prosecutor's Office or any other law enforcement in Kent County, we are going to investigate and follow up with anything that we can do to make sure these guns are kept out of the hands of kids and out of the schools."
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom, who was with Becker when charges were announced on Tuesday, said the gun in question was a stolen firearm, which could lead to additional charges.
"Getting illegally possessed weapons off our streets is critical to our children's safety," says Winstrom. "Keeping legally possessed guns secure and out of the hands of kids is critical to our children's safety. We, together as a community, all have a role to play in keeping our children safe."
One week after the incident at César E. Chávez Elementary School, Grand Rapids Public Schools said a loaded gun was found inside a third grader's backpack at Stocking Elementary School.
In total, four guns were seized at GRPS during the 2022–23 school year, officials said.
The recent gun seizures culminated in a district-wide ban on backpacks until further notice.
GRPD says trigger locks are available for free at their headquarters.
This story was originally published by Scripps News Grand Rapids.
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