An elementary school student in Alabama was shot in the hand during gym class on Monday, Sept. 17, in what authorities said was an accident.
Police officers were called to Blossomwood Elementary School around 10:30 a.m. after the gun went off.
Superintendent Christy Finley told parents via a recorded phone message that was delivered after the school day that the matter was swiftly dealt with.
“We never put the campus on lockdown because this was an accident,” she said in the message, reported AL.com. “Once the accident occurred, no other students were in danger. The school was safe and class continued for our students.”
She said the students involved were second-graders.
Lt. Michael Johnson said the gun went off when one student was handing it to another student during gym class, while Finley said the shooting happened in a restroom.
The gun was immediately confiscated while the gym teacher rushed the injured student to get medical treatment.
“We are doing an extensive investigation into the chain of custody of the weapon,” Johnson said. “We are looking at the chain of events as to how the kid got the weapon.”
At this time the incident is being ruled as an accidental discharge between two students handling a small firearm. As Chief McMurray stated in the press conference, please be mindful of your weapons at home and gun safety.
— Huntsville Police (@HsvPolice) September 17, 2018
Shawn Patrick was among those who received a notification from the school system about the shooting, prompting him to drive to the school.
Patrick told AL.com that his 7-year-old son was in the nurse’s office when the student who was shot was escorted in.
“I never in my life believed my children would be in a situation where there was a shooting at their school—especially an elementary school,” said Patrick. “It was terrifying, absolutely terrifying.”
Patrick believes the school should install metal detectors, noting that he and his wife plan to seek counseling for their son.
— Brenda Formby (@maine2564478414) September 18, 2018
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle held a press conference on Monday after the shooting.
He told reporters that the incident is a reminder for parents to keep their firearms secure.
“The incident at Blossomwood Elementary this morning is an important reminder to us all—secure your firearms and keep them out of reach of children,” he said.
Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray echoed the advice.
“If you have weapons at home, be sure and lock them down,” he told WHNT. “Know where that weapon is. They have locks you can put on those weapons in your home. You have places you can lock them down to keep these elementary school children away from them.”