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Unloaded gun found in Clay County 9-year-old's backpack

Boy says he found gun his visiting grandfather brought to their home

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – An unloaded .45-caliber handgun was found Tuesday morning in the backpack of a third-grader at Swimming Pen Creek Elementary School, according to a Clay County Schools spokeswoman.

The 9-year-old boy told Clay County deputies that the gun belonged to his grandfather, who was visiting their family. News4Jax was told the boy told a teacher about the gun and it was confiscated without any children ever being in danger or the school, which is located off County Road 220, needing to be placed on lockdown.

The boy was not arrested and released to his parents. He may face discipline according to the school district's code of conduct. 

School officials said there were no threats to students on or off campus and the school. All parents were notified of the incident by phone though the district's parent link app.

"Very scary," said Joseph Jacoway, who has a daughter in kindergarten at the school. "Disappointed, especially at an elementary school. Something you will usually think at a junior high or high school. So definitely, at that young of an age, to have to start thinking about it now is getting us thinking about homeschooling."

Jacoway said his daughter is too young to know details, but that he and his wife will be talking with their three children about the incident.

"She still very innocent. I don't want to scare her, but we're going to probably have more of a general talk about dangerous situations and to keep an eye out for things that seem out of place," Jacoway said. 

The case was taken over by the Clay County Sheriff's Office. 

The News4Jax I-TEAM found there were two gun-in-school incidents in Clay County last school year. One resulted in an arrest, the other did not. There were also two incidents in which a BB gun and air soft gun were found in a student’s possession.