May 10, 2013

Maine district attorney weighs charges in preschool gun case

A staff member found the loaded handgun in a bag a 4-year-old boy brought to a child care center in Hallowell.

By CRAIG CROSBY Kennebec Journal

HALLOWELL – Following a report that a 4-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun to a local preschool last month, the Kennebec County District Attorney's Office has asked for more information to determine whether to bring charges.

Hallowell Police Chief Eric Nason said a staff member found the loaded .380 caliber, semi-automatic handgun in a bag brought to the Rollins Family Child Care Center on Litchfield Road. Nason said the gun's safety was on but a round was in the chamber.

Nason said no charges have been filed in the April 23 incident. A police report was submitted April 24 to District Attorney Maeghan Maloney's office.

After reviewing that report Thursday, Maloney said, "I have requested additional information before any charging decision can be made."

A report was also filed April 23 with the state's Department of Health and Human Services, Nason said.

"We have the firearm in our possession pending review by the district attorney's office," Nason said.

Citing concern for her students, Elizabeth Rollins, who owns the day-care facility, declined to comment.

However, Nason praised the workers' response to the gun discovery. The facility notified parents of the events and cooperated with the police investigation, he said.

"They notified us immediately and took the gun off the premises," Nason said. "From start to finish, they did everything they possibly could."

The names of the boy and his parents are being withheld because no charges have been filed.

The gun was found in a travel bag the boy uses to carry belongings between the homes of his divorced parents. An employee found the gun while looking for a particular piece of clothing for the child, Nason said.

The police investigation determined that the boy's mother had dropped him off at day care with the bag on the morning of April 18. The boy's father picked him up later that day and returned the child, with the bag, to his mother's house around 5 p.m.

"He indicated he had last seen (the gun) in the door pocket of his truck around 11 a.m. on the 18th," Nason said.

A few hours later, around 10 p.m., the father reported the gun stolen to Skowhegan police.

Nason said the gun remained in the bag until April 23, when it was discovered at the day-care center.

Nason said police were unable to determine exactly how the gun wound up in the bag.

"It's really hard telling," he said. "I don't think the child knew the gun was in the bag."

Nason said the father declined to speak to police about the incident. The father was legally allowed to have the gun at the time the incident occurred, Nason said, but the courts have since issued a temporary protection-from-abuse order sought by the ex-wife against the father. That order prohibits the man from possessing firearms.

 

Craig Crosby can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

ccrosby@centralmaine.com

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)