By Clare Ogilvie
A 12-year-old Alberta boy was flown home from Whistler this week after he was allegedly found with a loaded handgun while on a school trip.
RCMP Cpl. Dave Ritchie said police thoroughly investigated whether the incident posed any threat to students, staff, or the hotel where the youths were staying in light of the horrific school-related shootings that have marked this time of the year in the past.
“We determined there was no threat to students, teachers or staff at any time,” he said.
“There wasn’t any plot or plan revealed.”
The RCMP took possession of the gun after being called to the Holiday Inn April 28 around 9 p.m. At that point the principal of Holy Redeemer School in Ardrossan, Alberta had the gun. The boy’s parents were notified immediately.
A student who had seen the 12-year-old with the gun had told the principal about it.
The boy was released on a charge of possession of prohibited weapon. He is set to appear in North Vancouver provincial court June 18.
“It certainly raises alarm bells about why a 12-year-old would have a handgun, loaded on a school trip,” said Ritchie.
“It is very alarming and disturbing.”
RCMP Cst. Darren Anderson of the Strathcona County detachment in Alberta said a police investigation has determined that guns at the family home are all being stored safely.
“Our biggest concern was if there were some storage or handling issues at the home,” he said.
“We made a visit there and when we got there all the guns were stored according to the law.”
The school and family are working with police said Anderson.
“The fact that he had a loaded gun on the trip was a risk so we are looking at whether there are things we can change before students go on trips,” said Anderson.
“There were bag searches done but he didn’t have it in a bag, he had it on his person, so maybe we have got to an age where we need to check pockets before going on trips.
“We are a busy detachment and this was new to us and new to our school board and is quite shocking.
“We are satisfied there was nobody targeted. I liken it to maybe a bit of bravado.”