AMITE CITY, LA (WVUE) - Police arrested a mother and father after their 4-year-old son brought a loaded pistol to Amite Elementary School on Friday.
Officers believe the child got hold of the gun during his ride to school after it was left unattended in his mother's car.
"I'm assuming she had it laying on the seat, and he just reached down there, got it and put it in his book sack," Amite Police Chief Jerry Trabona said. "She doesn't remember where the gun was."
Trabona said school administrators called him after the boy showed the small pistol to a classmate.
Officers charged the boy's parents, 36-year-old Kenji Steptow and 30-year-old Kenisha Steptow, with child desertion, which is a misdemeanor. Trabona said the charge was the harshest the law would allow.
"If the baby would have been thinking it's a play gun and shot somebody with it, you don't know where that bullet is going. It was a semi-automatic. If he would have pulled it, he could have pulled it again. There was another bullet ready to go," Trabona said.
"I freaked out because I'm trying to figure out, where's my child? Is she ok? What part was isolated? What happened?" Amite Elementary parent Michelle Brumfield said. "But once I saw the write-up, I'm likem, oh my gosh that's on the pre-k kindergarten hall."
Police say the gun is registered.
The Department of Family and Child Services released the child into the custody of a family member, Trabona said.
Trabona believes the child thought the gun was a toy.