UPDATE| Gun owner in W.S. Hornsby shooting turns himself in

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Friday, August 28, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The owner of the gun in the W.S Hornsby K-8 School shooting is officially charged, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Kingsley Smith is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to the Sheriff's Office. Smith is the grandmother's boyfriend of the third grader, according to Richmond County BOE Police Chief Alfonzo Williams.

Chief Alfonzo Williams confirms Smith turned himself in on Thursday, and he is the owner of the gun brought to Hornsby School.

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, August 26, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- We're finally getting answers to how a child got his hands on the gun he brought to his elementary school.

The gun went off in a 3rd grade classroom at W.S. Hornsby K-8 Tuesday morning. School officials say the boy was playing with it inside his desk.

After grazing the side of a 3rd grade girl, parents wanted to know how the gun got to school in the first place.

Richmond County School Safety and Security Chief Alfonzo Williams says the child was looking for a toy when he came across a loaded gun. A re-enactment told them how the student reached far above his third grade stature to get it.

"The child used a chair to climb onto the kitchen counter and propelled himself up to a curio stand in the kitchen area where he got the firearm," Chief Williams said.

That firearm ended up in the boy's desk at school where it accidentally fired, grazing a little girl.

"We think the school administration and faculty and staff as well as the students acted very quickly, very appropriately," Williams said.

The .380 semi-automatic handgun belonged to his grandmother's boyfriend who is now facing charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The gun, although out of reach, was not locked up.

As for the student, school safety and the DA decided together how to move forward.

"The third grade student who possessed and caused the .380 semi-automatic handgun to fire a projectile which grazed a classmate will be referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice as a CHINS case. That's a Child in Need of Services case," Williams said.

Williams says they referred the case the the Department of Family and Children's Services Child Protective Services Unit, too.

Williams says community forums about gun safety earlier this year were supposed to help prevent this kind of thing, but he admitted "attendance from the community has been fairly dismal."

He says now their best defense is a well-trained faculty and staff.

Williams says he will continue to hold community forums on firearm safety and hopes now more people will come to learn about them.

He says they've begun their "after action report" which means they're going over all their processes to see if they need to make any changes.

Right now, he says he believes what they're currently doing is sufficient.

"We believe that having vigilant students, staff, and faculty a well-trained students, staff, and faculty is probably the best prevention," he said.

Wednesday, August 25, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor is currently pending against the owner of the firearm connected to WS Hornsby Elementary School.

The third grade student who fired the semi-automatic handgun will be referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Additionally, the case has been referred to the Department of Family and Child Protective Services Unit, according to Richmond County Safety and Security Department Director Alfonzo Williams

The child used a chair to climb on to a kitchen counter, and propelled himself up to a stand in the kitchen area where he got the firearm. The gun was on top of the cabinet out of the child's natural reach.

Reportedly, the child was looking for a toy when he came across the weapon. The gun is owned by the boyfriend of the child's maternal grandmother.

At this time, the district isn't releasing the name of the child who brought gun got to school.

Williams believes tighter security measures aren't necessary at the school.

"In the past we have held community forums through churches and civic organizations and other mediums and on the topic of firearm safety...attendance from the community has been fairly dismal," Williams said. "We will continue to hold these forums in hopes of educating our citizenry on the safe use and practices of firearms and we certainly encourage parents and guardians to attend those forums."

"We believe that having a vigilant students staff and faculty a well-trained students staff and faculty is probably the best prevention.
And that is where we really need to focus our efforts there are times when metal detectors are a necessary tool in our business. we think the school administration and faculty and staff as well as the students acted very quickly very appropriately," Williams said.

News 12 at 11 o'clock// Tuesday, August 25, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A long and scary day at W.S. Hornsby school. One that parents like Tandra Williams will never forget.

"I just think that for some reason with everything that is going on in the world, We here in Augusta seem to think it can't happen to us," said Williams.

It started early at 10:45 this morning. A bullet is fired by a third grade boy playing with a gun inside his desk.That bullet grazing one of his classmates. The school went on lock-down, the student was rushed to the hospital and parents were notified. Two hours later News 12 watched that same little girl, who was clipped by the bullet, leaving the hospital.

Williams says the girl was lucky and the school was unprepared.

"That situation could've been a lot worse," said Williams.

At 4 o'clock it was time for the school district to answer questions.

I asked the school district what safe guards the district has to protect students in situations like this.

"In certain schools we do conduct metal detector searches in certain schools when there is a need for this type of thing, but this is an isolated incident and we just try to make sure it doesn't happen again," said Richmond County BOE Public Safety Assistant Chief Ted Brown

And they say those certain schools with metal detectors don't include elementary schools.We also asked what this meant for the student who shot the gun and his parents.

"Like I said it's still under investigation, so we haven't made any decisions about charges at this time," said Brown.

Future decisions that could lead to criminal charges. For now Superintendent Pringle says she is just happy that the little girl is doing well.

"In fact, just earlier the victim said to me, Mrs. Pringle I would like to go to school tomorrow," said Pringle.

School officials say the investigation is being handled by board of education public safety team. Once public safety and children services are finished with their investigation Richmond County law enforcement will be able to determine what charges the parents and child could face. Some determining factors will be whether the gun was legally registered, how the student got a hold of the gun and how old he is.

News 12 First at Five // Tuesday, August 25, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A place meant to be a safe space for students to learn is shattered by the crack of a gunshot.

The third grader grazed by a bullet at W.S. Hornsby has been released from the hospital.

School officials say another student was playing with the gun in his desk when it accidentally went off.

"What a child doing with a gun? A little child got a gun?" asked sister Tasha Williams.

That's the question every family member wants to know as they rushed to W.S. Hornsby to make sure their own child was not the victim of a shooting there Tuesday morning.

"I said oh Lord. I hope it wasn't my son, you know what I'm saying? I just freaked out," Williams said.

The school was a mad house after word spread a gun went off, grazing a third grade girl in the side.

"I was scared because all I kept hearing was 'Come get me. Come get me.' Then he would hang up the phone," mother Alicia Polen said.

School officials say the student who brought the gun was playing with it in his desk when it accidentally went off around 10:45 Tuesday morning.

Student Maequoia was sitting in class when she heard it go off.

"I heard something. A gunshot. I was about to run outside, but our teacher and stuff like that told us to sit down," she said.

Fourth grader Jeffrey Gross, Jr. heard the chaos that happened next.

"The kids they all start yelling and screaming and then that's when the teacher came. She picked the little girl up and start running down the hallway. That's when the police and the ambulance came," Gross said.

When asked if he feels safe in his school, Gross said, "No ma'am."

Hornsby went on lockdown after the gun went off.

The girl who was shot was taken to the hospital. Since the bullet just grazed her side, she wasn't there long. News 12 cameras captured her walking out of GRU just two hours later.

Back on campus, parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters were flocking to the school to pick up their kids.

"I said let me get out of here and go get my grand baby. I got in my car and I took off," grandmother Johnnie Mae Brown said.

Worried families filled the parking lot to pick up their kids, some getting frustrated.

"Saying it's not that serious? It's very serious. I don't know what planet he live on, but it is very serious. A child got shot," Polen said.

"It was a lot of fussing and cussing and frustration. Everybody wants their kids and the police saying oh you have to wait one at a time," sister Martika Jackson said.

Long before parents filled the streets, emergency vehicles filled the scene and rushed the injured third grader to the hospital. News 12 cameras captured her being loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher and again leaving Georgia Regents Medical Center a couple hours later.

As parents and kids were reunited, it was hugs all around. Everyone was thankful the shooting wasn't worse.

"I was just glad that wasn't me that got shot," 4th grader Jeffrey Gross said.

School officials say the student who brought the gun to school was taken into custody shortly after it happened.

"It's a shame these kids can't go to school and be safe. You don't even want to see your child at school no more," Polen said.

"Pray to God my child is here another day," father Jeffrey Gross said.

In a news conference late Tuesday afternoon, a host of officials including Superintendent Angela Pringle and Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree talked about today's shooting.

They say until the investigation is finished, they don't know if the parents of the student who brought the gun will face charges.

UPDATE | 1:10 p.m. // Tuesday, August 25, 2015

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW) -- The student who was grazed by a bullet at W.S. Hornsby School Tuesday morning has been released from the hospital.

She was being treated at Georgia Regents Medical Center.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW) -- The Richmond County Board of Education confirms that a female student at W.S. Hornsby School has been grazed by a bullet but is expected to be okay.

School officials say around 10:45 a.m. a male student at W.S. Hornsby Elementary School was playing with a gun in his desk when it went off, grazing the female student.

The student with the weapon was taken into custody, according to school officials. The child that was hurt was taken to the hospital, and suffers from non life-threatening injuries. W.S. Hornsby is no longer on lockdown.

There is no further danger in the school. Parents can come pick their students up or check on their student at W.S. Hornsby Elementary School at the grade 6-8 building. Parents must bring an ID in order to pick up their student, according to school officials.