‘I want answers’: 12-year-old brings handgun to local summer camp

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — A 12-year-old student at Hickory Ridge Middle School brought a handgun to campus on June 29, the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office said.

Officers and school officials investigated the incident at the Jump Start summer camp and spoke with the student’s parent. The student was released to the custody of their parents following the investigation.

A woman told Channel 9 that the student pointed the loaded gun at her 12-year-old niece.

[2 students charged in separate weapon-related incidents at Myers Park HS]

“She called me and said, ‘Rose, I almost got shot today,’ and my heart dropped,” Rosalind Richmond said.

The aunt is struggling to understand how another child got a loaded gun into Hickory Ridge Middle and why she pointed it at her niece.

“Being that young, having to deal with something like that, you going to school to have fun and learn, then this happens,” Richmond said.

Richmond’s niece said she was in PE class when the child pulled the gun out of a bag.

“She reached down pulled the gun, cocked it back, and said, ‘I’m going to shoot you, kill you and bury you,’” the aunt told Channel 9.

Richmond said that even though her niece told an administrator what happened, the school never contacted her family directly. They got an email alert hours after the incident that went out to the entire camp.

“Parents should be notified by phone, not four hours later in an email saying, ‘We handled it,’” Richmond said. “I want answers, you know? Did she get arrested or what happened? How did she get her hands on the firearms?”

The Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office said it doesn’t have a report about the gun being pointed at Richmond’s niece and can’t confirm the gun was pointed at any student.

Authorities said the child with the loaded gun took it out to show to another student who reported it to administration. The child who brought the gun to school and their father are facing charges.

“I’m glad to hear that, it made my heart feel a lot better, but I’m still concerned about the safety measures going forward with the school. Are kids being checked, their book bags, anything?” Richmond said.

Channel 9 asked Cabarrus County Schools what actions have been taken and if the child was disciplined.

“Although the incident at Hickory Ridge Middle School was extremely disturbing, we commend the students who reported seeing the weapon and are grateful that no one was injured,” a spokesperson replied. “We appreciate the efforts of local law enforcement and are working with them to conduct a thorough investigation.”

Richmond said that her niece is still going to the camp because the family doesn’t have much of a choice. She hopes the incident is a wake-up call for the school and for gun owners.

“Kids should not have access to firearms,” she said.

The child’s father, Daniel Ortiz, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and storing a firearm in a manner accessible to a minor.

Cabarrus County Schools issued the following statement:

The safety of our students and staff is a priority for Cabarrus County Schools. Although the incident at Hickory Ridge Middle School was extremely disturbing, we commend the students who reported seeing the weapon and are grateful that no one was injured.

We appreciate the efforts of local law enforcement and are working with them to conduct a thorough investigation. We also will continue to reinforce the Say Something training and safety protocols with our students.