Third-Grader Reaches into Maplewood Officer's Holster, Fires Weapon in School Gym

February 05, 2018 10:09 PM

Maplewood police said no one was hurt after a third-grader reached into a school liaison officer's holster and fired the gun on Monday.

The incident happened in the school gym at Harmony Learning Center in Maplewood, where the officer was "interacting with (third- and fourth-graders) and building relationships," according to a police department release.


The release says the officer was sitting on a bench, and a third-grader "reached over and placed his finger into the officer's gun holster and pressed the trigger of the officer's gun causing it to discharge though the bottom of the holster."

The round hit the floor, and no one was injured, the press release states.

North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District Superintendent Christine Osario sent a written message to parents whose children attend Harmony Learning Center expressing the district's concerns about the incident and reassuring parents the students' safety is paramount.

In her message, Osario said the officer's weapon was never removed from its holster. She added, "At the time of the incident, there were two adult staff members and four students in the gym. The officer and school staff quickly assessed each student and verified that there were no injuries. School District 622 and the Maplewood Police Department are working closely together to thoroughly investigate this incident to make sure something like this does not happen again. Harmony is a therapeutic setting, and our staff will continue to support students to feel safe at school."

According to the school's website, Harmony's K-12 program "serves special education students with a three pronged focus of behavioral support, integrated mental health services, and engaging academics utilizing K-12 district ciriculum."

The police department release also said the officer was "unaware of the child touching his gun until the weapon was fired."

The holster is considered a level-3 security, the city added, and it has a trigger guard "that typically cannot be touched or fired in the holster, but the child's small finger was able to reach inside."

The police department says it plans to review what happened and look into the style of holster "to prevent future instances."

The school district said there are 47 K-12 students and 30 teachers and professional staff at the school.


Theresa Malloy and Jay Kolls

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