Student, 14, found with gun, 17 rounds The boy was charged with bringing an assault pistol to a charter school where a child was accidentally shot in Feb.

Posted: March 21, 2002

A 14-year-old boy has been charged with carrying a TEC-9 assault pistol into the same Germantown charter school where a police officer's gun discharged during a show-and-tell last month, grazing a student in the face.

The latest incident involving a gun at Imani Education Circle Charter School, 100 W. Chelten Ave., occurred Monday, when a 13-year-old student went into a bathroom and spotted the 14-year-old at a sink with the large handgun, police said yesterday. The 13-year-old reported the sighting to a teacher, who alerted a vice principal.

The 14-year-old was brought out of class and ordered to empty his bookbag in the vice principal's office. The TEC-9 fell out, along with a magazine containing 17 rounds, police said. There also were two steak knives in the bag, police said.

The 14-year-old, whose name was withheld because he is a juvenile, told school officials that he gone to school armed because on Friday four students at nearby Pickett Middle School had threatened to beat him for talking to a female student there.

The boy was charged with a series of weapons offenses, including carrying weapons on school property and possession of weapons by a minor.

The boy's 45-year-old mother, whose name was also withheld because it would identify her son, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and recklessly endangering other persons.

Investigators learned the TEC-9 was legally registered to the mother. She told detectives that she had left the weapon on the top shelf of a closet in the bedroom where the 14-year-old sleeps.

It could not be determined yesterday if Imani has a metal detector. Telephone calls to the school, which teaches kindergarten through eighth grade, were not returned.

Philadelphia School District officials said they knew of no charter schools in the city that have metal detectors.

At a hearing yesterday at the Youth Study Center, the teen was released despite objections by the District Attorney's Office, authorities said. The boy was released to in-house detention and sent home with his mother.

On Feb. 6, a Philadelphia police officer passed around a loaded handgun among students during show-and-tell. It accidentally discharged, wounding a fourth-grade student, James Reeves, who received five stitches at Temple University Children's Hospital.

The officer, Vanessa Carter-Moragne, 39, a five-year veteran assigned to the Ninth Police District in Center City, was removed from street duty and continues to be under internal investigation as a result of the incident.

The show-and tell incident came five days after an off-duty school district police officer who was working as a part-time school-bus driver came under investigation when students from Imani and another charter school told their parents he threatened them with a gun.

Police said that officer, who at the time was driving a school bus, stopped on the route after school to calm unruly children. The officer, whose name was not released, hollered at the kids to sit down and made reference to his gun. He was not charged.

Contact Thomas J. Gibbons Jr. at 215-854-2642 or tgibbons@phillynews.com.

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