A Pennsylvania mom has turned herself in after her six-year-old son reportedly swiped her semi-automatic handgun from her bedroom and took it to school.
Jasmin Devlin, 30, has been arrested for felony endangerment of the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment after her son took an unloaded gun and bullets to school to show other students, NBC 10 Philadelphia reported.
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) February 16, 2023
Authorities say the child and his 10-year-old brother found the gun in a dresser in Devlin’s bedroom the night before. The older child reportedly removed the bullets and pointed the gun at his younger brother, pretending to shoot him. Later that same evening, the 6-year-old child is said to have snuck back into the bedroom and put the gun and the bullets in his backpack, the outlet reported.
On the morning of Feb. 9, the six-year-old reportedly showed the gun and the bullets to children on the bus, who immediately reported the incident to the administrative officials upon arrival at Joseph K. Gotwals Elementary School, NBC 10 reported. After checking the child’s backpack and finding the gun, school officials called the police.
“We were able to find the young man in the school office,” Acting Norristown Police Chief Michael Bishop told the outlet. “Did recover a firearm and loose bullets,” he continued, adding that the bullets were rolling around in the bottom of the backpack. “The magazine was back in the gun but there were no bullets in the magazine. No bullets in the chamber,” he continued.
Bishop commended the students who reported the incident to school officials calling them “true heroes.”
“Their notification to school officials resulted in an immediate response by Norristown Police, ensuring the safety of everyone at the school,” he stated, according to the outlet. Both the school and police officials stressed, however, that they do not believe the boy had any intention of using the firearm or harming anyone.
“This incident is a frightening reminder of the fact that children can and do find unsecured firearms in a home, and they play with them. Thankfully, these young boys were not shot or injured in their home, and no one was shot or injured at school thanks to the quick action by school personnel,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said according to NBC 10. (RELATED: 6-Year-Old In Custody After Allegedly Shooting Teacher)
Authorities further discovered that the firearm was a “straw purchased” firearm, or one that was illegally purchased through someone else, a felony in the state of Pennsylvania. Joseph Rudnitskas, 33, bought the firearm for Devlin in March 2022 and was arrested on April 9, 2022 on multiple charges related to illegal purchases and sales of four firearms. He is awaiting trial, but as Steele pointed out, the case is “a reminder of just how dangerous straw purchased firearms are,” the outlet reported.
Devlin turned herself into police on Feb. 14 and is being held on a $50,000 unsecured bail with an additional condition that she have no contact with children, the outlet stated.