AP NEWS

Police investigating after 12-year-old boy found in possession of a firearm

May 15, 2019

Scottsbluff Police are investigating after a trespassing complaint led to the discovery of a juvenile boy in possession of a gun on the property of a Scottsbluff school.

The incident occurred after the school day. Scottsbluff Police Capt. Brian Wasson told the Star-Herald that police were called to a trespassing complaint in the 2200 block of Avenue D at about 6:38 p.m. Monday. A property owner in the area had been noticing damage at a home he had been working on in the area and stopped at the property to check on it, Wasson said. In the home, he found a group of kids and ordered them to leave the property.

The kids, which Wasson estimated to be a group of about 20 kids ranging in age from 8 to 12 years old, went to the Lincoln Heights playground, which is across the street from the residence. Police made contact with the kids there, and while investigating, were told that one of the youths had been in possession of a handgun.

Wasson said a search of the area revealed a gun, which was located on the ground in the playground.

He declined to comment on whether the gun was loaded, as police are still questioning children involved in the incident. Under state statutes, some of the children are young enough that police will have to conduct forensic interviews with them, he said.

Probation was contacted and did take the child alleged to have been in possession of the weapon into custody for a safety assessment.

The Scottsbluff Public Schools sent a letter to parents about the incident Tuesday. In the letter, the school’s principal, Kraig Weyrich, advises parents to take appropriate precautions if they possess firearms.

Wasson said police also advise that parents or caregivers who are in possession of firearms to take appropriate precautions. Parents are advised to store firearms and weapons in a locked container, such as a gun safe or cabinet. Ammunition should be stored separately and also secured. Any keys or combinations to a gun safe or cabinet should be stored in an area that is not accessible to children.