13-year-old girl who pointed finger gun at classmates charged with a felony
A Kansas middle school girl who formed her fingers into a gun and pointed it at several of her classmates after another student asked her who would she would kill was arrested and charged with a felony.
The incident happened on Sept. 18 at Westridge Middle School in Overland Park, about 13 miles south of Kansas City, after administrators were alerted to a potential threat made by a 13-year-old student, police said in a news release.
According to the Kansas City Star, the girl was having a discussion with a classmate who asked if she could kill five people in the room, who would they be. The girl responded by allegedly making a finger gun and pointing it at four students and then pointing it at herself, the outlet reported.
An Overland Park police spokesperson told NBC News in a statement Friday that an individual who felt threatened used the school's online anti-bullying app to alert administrators, who conducted an investigation and then told the school resource officer.
The resource officer, who is employed by the city's police department, interviewed both students involved who "affirmed the actions which constituted the potential threat," police said.
The girl, whose identity is not being released because she is a juvenile, was then arrested by the resource officer.
"Too often there are reports of violence in schools and inevitably questions about what could or should have been done to prevent the tragedy. Threats in schools are taken very seriously and treated appropriately," police said in the release.
A spokesperson for the Johnson County District Attorney's Office said after reviewing the evidence the girl was charged with criminal threat, which is a felony offense.
She is due to appear in court next week.
Jon Cavanaugh, the girl's grandfather, told the Kansas City Star that he thinks the incident "got completely out of hand" and should have been handled in the principal's office and not with the teenager being charged with a felony.
Cavanaugh said the 13-year-old does not have access to a gun.
"She was just mouthing off," he said. "I'm really worried about my granddaughter’s future."
A spokesperson for the Shawnee Mission School District told NBC News that he could not discuss the incident but that the district was not involved in the girl's being arrested.
"We didn't have any control over that action," David Smith said, declining to say if the school disciplined the student who began the discussion by asking the girl who she would kill.