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Mom charged after gun goes off in student’s backpack, 7-year-old boy is grazed by bullet

<i>WBBM</i><br/>Bond was set at $10
Bond was set at $10

By Steven Graves and Marissa Parra

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    CHICAGO (WBBM) — Bond was set at $10,000 on Wednesday for a mother facing misdemeanor child endangerment charges, a day after her son brought a gun to Disney Magnet School, and the gun accidentally went off, wounding a 7-year-old boy.

Tatanina Kelly, 28, is charged with three misdemeanor counts of causing a child to be endangered.

Cook County prosecutors said Kelly’s 8-year-old son found the gun, a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, under his mother’s bed Monday night, and brought it to school in his backpack on Tuesday.

The gun accidentally went off while still in the backpack, inside a 2nd grade classroom, and the bullet hit the ground and ricocheted, grazing a 7-year-old boy’s abdomen, according to police and fire officials.

Prosecutors said the wounded boy’s teacher saw him clutching his right side, and then went to the backpack, which she handed over to school security officers.

At a bond hearing Wednesday morning, a judge set Kelly’s bond at $10,000, saying “while this was not intentional, it was supremely [negligent].” Kelly must post $1,000 bail to be released. Kelly has no previous criminal record, and her defense attorney asked the judge to lower her bond, but the judge denied that request.

The injured boy was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital for treatment, and he remained in good condition Wednesday morning. No one else was injured.

“Our staff immediately intervened, secured the gun, and contacted the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the CPS Office of Safety and Security. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured and everyone is safe. CPD responded to our school quickly and confiscated the gun,” Disney Magnet School officials told parents in a letter. “We are working closely with the CPS Office of Safety and Security to make a safety plan moving forward.”

Nonetheless, the incident was unsettling for students, parents, and staff.

After getting an email from the school about what happened, many parents rushed to pick up their kids from school, relieved to find out they were safe.

Edwina Watkins said she wants to know how that child got a gun to begin with.

“For a little kid to have a gun, something that it should be hard for an adult to have, but at a school? And all these things going on at schools? It’s frightening,” she said.

Fellow parent Vania McFadden said, although the school didn’t send kids home after the shooting, she felt safer picking up her 7-year-old son, who has special needs. She said it’s “very worrisome” that a student at the school was able to bring in a gun, but she said she believes the school did everything it should.

“It really isn’t on the school, per se, because it was in a kid’s backpack. It’s much more on the parent,” she said.

Meantime, Kelly is due back in court on May 24.

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