Police: 5-year-old boy brought loaded handgun to Holyoke school

HOLYOKE — A 52-year-old city man is expected to face criminal charges after his 5-year-old grandson took a fully loaded .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun from his house and brought it to his pre-kindergarten class in his backpack.

Holyoke Police Lt. James Albert said police expect to file a criminal complaint in Holyoke District Court against the grandfather, whose name has not been released, on charges of reckless endangerment of a child and improper storage of a firearm. The grandfather was not arrested and is cooperating with authorities, Albert said.

Before heading to the E.N. White Elementary School at around 11:30 a.m. Friday, Albert said, the boy and his mother visited the grandfather at his home. While at the house, Albert said, the boy placed a black Ruger SR22 handgun with 10 live rounds in an installed magazine into his backpack and brought it to school.

Since the boy is in pre-kindergarten, Albert said he was only at school for half of a day. At around 2:45 p.m., the school’s acting principal contacted Holyoke Police after she was made aware by staff that the boy had a gun.

When officers responded to the school around 3 p.m., officers spoke to staff and were handed the backpack with the handgun inside. The handgun was secured by an officer, and police currently believe that the boy did not remove the gun from his backpack at any time during the school day. No one was injured, Albert said.

Albert said the grandfather has a current Massachusetts License to Carry, which was seized by police along with a second handgun and ammunition from his home.

The Holyoke School Department, along with school staff ,are cooperating with the Holyoke Police Department Criminal Investigations Bureau’s investigation into the incident, Albert said.

The state Department of Children and Families was also notified and has opened an investigation.