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A 13-year-old student at Rafael Cantu Junior High in Mission CISD was caught with a handgun at the school Thursday, March 7, according to Mission Interim Police Chief Robert Dominguez. The student was arrested and charged with unlawful carry of a weapon and carry of a weapon in a prohibited area.
A letter sent home to parents by the junior high principal states that administrators acted on a tip that a student had a weapon on campus. The school was put on lockdown and police were immediately called.
Dominguez said the staff did a tremendous job in how they handled the situation.
Although police are not saying much because it involves a juvenile, and the sensitivity of the case, Mission Police did say the school was primarily on lockdown to make sure the student found with the gun was the only person involved. Once police were satisfied, they told school officials they could clear the lockdown.
The lockdown happened just before 11 a.m., putting the gun on campus for about three hours.
“All I can tell you is that it was a handgun that was brought onto campus,” said Dominguez. Police would not say if the gun was actually loaded, saying the young boy is currently in the process of going through the court system. Police want to make sure he is given every opportunity as far as the law is concerned to make his plea for innocence or guilt.
Investigators believe the student was being bullied at school and had taken the gun to school as a scare tactic.
“I believe at this point that is kind of what we are finding out,” said Dominguez. “This young man was afraid.”
Dominguez added that it’s tragic to see circumstances like this come and then have a young person affected that way. Unfortunately, he took the wrong steps to try to resolve his problems, said Dominguez.
“Whatever intention he had, it’s obviously a situation where you don’t want a gun on any campus.”
The gun was traced back to a relative that owned the gun legally and kept it stored properly. According to police, the student pried open a lock to get to the gun. The family and relative will not be charged. Police will be speaking with Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to discuss whether the gun will be destroyed or given back to the relative.
Dominguez said this is a learning experience for a lot of people.
“I think every realm learns from situations like this,” said Dominguez. “Parents out there need to talk to their children, because sometimes children alone will not come and tell what’s going on at school.”
“Unfortunately there are a lot of cases like this in today’s society where a lot of these kids don’t say anything and unfortunately take steps that get them in these types of situations where now they are in trouble with the law. Now they have entered into the criminal justice process.”
It’s tragic to see a young man that had no type of criminal record before now be tainted with something like this, said Dominguez.
“There are better ways to handle situations. It comes back to speaking with your kids and having that relationship with your kids and asking the right questions and becoming more and more involved.”
Dominguez said they would continue to investigate the case. The student is being held at a detention center until his next hearing.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.