Hopson blames MPD for late response to school gun incident - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Hopson blames MPD for late response to school gun incident

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FRAYSER, Tenn. (FOX13) -

There were at least 50 children inside Westside Elementary School's cafeteria Thursday morning at the time a loaded revolver inside a kindergartner's backpack discharged.

Three elementary staff members acted as first responders moments after the gun was accidentally fired and secured the backpack and weapon said Emily Yellin, Chief of Communications for Shelby County Schools.

The three staff members took the backpack to Principal Kimberly Adams' office as other elementary staff made sure the children were okay.

In a news conference Friday afternoon SCS Interim Superintendent Dorsey Hopson blamed the Memphis Police Department for the late response.

The police department said the first call about this incident didn't even mention the fact that a gun was fired. Hopson said that doesn't matter, saying the police should have been there immediately.

Hopson added this problem goes beyond Thursday morning's incident at Westside Elementary. He said Memphis Police officers are not responding to the school district's calls.

MORE: Gun in kindergartner's backpack discharges in cafeteria
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The handgun fired inside a 5-year-old student's backpack at approximately 7:40 a.m. in the school's cafeteria. The staff secured the backpack and the principal called school security at 7:49 a.m.

Memphis Police were called at 7:53 a.m, but Police Director Toney Armstrong said his staff were only notified there may have been a gun brought to school. The police were called again at 8:21 a.m. and they were informed of the gunshot.

The first Memphis police officer arrived at 8:40 a.m., about an hour after the firearm discharged inside the backpack.

Interim Superintendent Hopson said that's not soon enough.

"I just think that common sense would indicate if you hear about a gun in school you immediately go out to the school," Hopson said. "The initial report was gun in school and then the call after our security people got more information they called back to let the MPD know that the gun had actually gone off. Then they sent someone out."

READ: Memphis Police response to Shelby County Schools bulletin

Interim Superintendent says there has been an issue with getting Memphis Police officers to respond to schools this school year, adding there are between six and seven documented incidents where police were called and didn't show up.

After the school district's news conference, Memphis Police communications released an internal memo which states MPD officers will respond to all incidents at all but 15 schools in the city.

A police spokeswoman said if there is active gunfire in any school they will respond immediately.

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