North Carolina

11-year-old shows off gun at school – and the student’s mom is charged, NC cops say

A mom faces misdemeanor charges after employees at a North Carolina school caught her child with a 9 mm handgun in his backpack, according to media outlets.

The 11-year-old first flashed it on the school bus and later in a classroom, the Fayetteville Observer reported, prompting school resource officers to intervene. His mom, 41-year-old Tycola Patrice Harmon, was subsequently arrested.

“There was not a round in the chamber, but a fully loaded fifteen-round magazine was in the weapon,” the newspaper reported, citing a court document.

Harmon was charged with “misdemeanor storing a firearm in a manner accessible to a minor,” according to WRAL.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said the weapon belonged to her husband overseas. Harmon was expected to look after it in his absence, WRAL reported.

“The firearm was left in a condition in which it could reasonably be discharged or a manner in which Harmon should have reasonably known her 11-year-old son could access the weapon,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a release, according to CBS17.

It’s not certain whether she knew her child had the gun, WRAL reported.

School officials at Elizabeth Cashwell Elementary School confirmed the incident in a statement to CBS17, saying other students told employees about the gun.

“(School officials) contacted law enforcement and CCS’ Safety and Security Department,” the district said, according to CBS17. “The firearm was collected without incident.”

Charges against the 11-year-old for possession of a weapon on campus were turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Fayetteville Observer reported. His mom has since been “released on a written promise to appear.”

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.