Officials with Minneapolis Public Schools confirm that a gun went off at a grade school in north Minneapolis on Tuesday afternoon shortly before school was dismissed, but no one was injured.
According to Rachel Hicks, director of media relations and public affairs, the shooting occurred at about 3 p.m. at Bethune Community School, located at 919 Emerson Avenue North.
Hicks said a gun in a grade school student's backpack discharged, but she said the incident occurred outside of the school building and there were not many students around at the time.
Although no injuries were reported, Hicks said some students may have seen smoke and heard the shot. No details about the weapon were provided.
Hicks told FOX 9 News staff members followed school protocol and called Minneapolis police.
Sgt. Stephen McCarty confirmed that a third-grade student had a loaded handgun in a backpack and that the gun accidentally went off while the child was outside.
The student was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital Home for Children on a health and welfare hold to figure how and where the child got the firearm.
On Tuesday night, MPS released the following statement on the incident:
We are fortunate that no students or staff members were injured today when a firearm was discharged outside of Bethune Community School. Learning will continue as usual at Bethune tomorrow. We look forward to returning to a normal instructional day and are focused on ending the school year strong.
We believe that a student accidently [sic] discharged a firearm outside of the school prior to students being dismissed this afternoon at approximately 3 p.m. We understand that the firearm was discharged from inside of a student's backpack. Again, no students or staff members were injured and although very few students were present at the time of the incident, some students may have heard a firearm shot or seen smoke. A School Messenger phone message was sent to Bethune families informing them of this incident after school dismissed.
Bethune staff members followed appropriate protocol and immediately called the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) school resource officer for assistance. We are working with the MPD in determining the circumstances around this situation. Due to student data privacy and because MPD is actively investigating this incident, we are unable to share any other information about the situation.
Weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited on school property. Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) is committed to following our policy in all matters involving weapons. Per MPS discipline and weapons-free schools policies, the superintendent regularly uses discretion in recommending appropriate disciplinary action. Information on any student's discipline is considered private student data and cannot be shared with the public.
On Tuesday afternoon, the following message was sent to parents from Minneapolis Public Schools:
This is Rachel Hicks, Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs for Minneapolis Public Schools. I am calling to inform you about an incident that happened at Bethune today. We believe that a student accidentally discharged a gun outside of school prior to students being dismissed this afternoon. No students or staff members were injured, and although very few students were present, some may have heard a gunshot or seen smoke. Bethune staff followed proper protocol and we are working with the Minneapolis Police Department in determining the circumstances around this situation.
Again, this is Rachel Hicks from Minneapolis Public Schools. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Bethune School Office at 612-668-2550.
Thank you and have a good evening.
Bethune Community School instructs students from pre-K through fifth grade.