Armstrong blasts SCS for handling gun incident - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Armstrong blasts SCS for handling gun incident

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In  a news conference Friday evening Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said Shelby County Schools failed to properly report the gunshot inside a student's backpack Thursday morning at Westside Elementary School in Frayser.

"Let me be emphatically clear," the visibly frustrated police director said. "The board of education clearly failed to properly report this call to the Memphis Police Department."

Earlier Friday Interim Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said police officers took too long to get to Westside Elementary after a loaded RG Revolver a kindergartner brought to school inside his backpack discharged while he and other students were inside the cafeteria.

MORE: Hopson blames MPD for late response to school gun incident

"When we first got the call nobody informed us that shots had been fired inside of that school," Director Armstrong said at police headquarters.

The police director said his dispatchers didn't get the information they needed and if they did, his officers would have rushed to Westside Elementary  with lights and sirens blaring.

"Let me be very clear, the information that we got at the onset of this particular call was they were holding a kid in the office that was believed to have a fake pistol, a BB gun, or cap gun," Director Armstrong said.

READ: MPD Director Armstrong's letter on security to SCS BOE

That first call came into police dispatch about 13 minutes after the shot went off. But officers weren't told of the gunshot until a second call about 40 minutes after the incident.

Interim Superintendent Hopson defended the way his staff handled the situation.

"The phone call was made to the Memphis Police Department in a matter of minutes," Hopson said. "The report was that a gun was in a school. They didn't respond. I think it's important for the public to know that the Memphis Police Department has taken the position that says the schools are now county buildings that they're not going to respond to them."

Hopson added there have been documented cases this year where SCS security has called the MPD but officers have not responded. School officials say it's standard procedure to call school security staff which, in turn, calls police.

"I just think that common sense would dictate if you hear about a gun in school you immediately go out to the school," Hopson said.


"I would like to think that common sense would tell you that you need to call 9-1-1 and not call security," Director Armstrong said.

The police director added that when his officers are dealing with a situation like the one at Westside Elementary his officers need firsthand information from people on the scene.

Director Armstrong has directed his officers to respond to any shots fired calls at any school in Memphis.

"There is no way in the world that I would ever put a child's life at risk," he said.

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