13-year-old brought loaded handgun with serial number filed off to Westside Middle: police

A 13-year-old Westside Middle School student is facing charges after a loaded gun was found in his backpack on Tuesday.

The principal called it a very poor decision on the part of the student, who is in seventh grade.

According to the student’s arrest report, he brought a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun with seven bullets in it to campus, and the serial number had been filed off the weapon.

The report said the student also had a ski mask in his backpack.

He was charged with possession of a firearm on school property and possession of a firearm with an altered serial number and was remanded to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

NOTE: News4JAX is not naming the student because of his age.

The district said a school employee found the gun Tuesday morning while searching unapproved backpacks. Only clear and mesh bookbags are allowed on campus.

Duval School Police arrested the student after finding the gun, and Westside Middle will now have additional screenings as an extra safety precaution for students and staff.

RELATED: Heightened security at Westside Middle after loaded gun found on campus

Duval County Public Schools is asking parents to be vigilant and has several steps it wants parents to take before sending their kids to school.

The district said parents should check their child’s backpack and personal belongings before they leave for school.

Parents are also encouraged to talk to students about the serious consequences that can result from situations like this.

All district high schools have weapon detectors installed, but Maddie Rutherford Middle is the only middle school in the district with the detectors. The $7 million upgrade was put in place this school year.

This year, Duval School Police also added a new K-9 that is trained to sniff out firearms. Maverick is the only firearms detection K-9 in Northeast Florida. K-9 Maverick was not at Westside Middle on Tuesday when the gun was found.

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