Wednesday, March 12, 2014
HALLOWELL -- Following a report that a 4-year-old child 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 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 also was 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 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 -- 621-5642