6-year-old boy found with loaded gun in backpack at school

PHOTO: A 6-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun to school in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2019.PlayColumbus Police Department
WATCH 6-year-old boy found with loaded gun in backpack at school

An Ohio elementary school student may have thwarted a potential crisis on Wednesday by quickly reporting a first-grader who came to school with a loaded semi-automatic handgun in his backpack, according to police.

"That student did exactly what we ask students to do: see something, say something," Columbus Division of Police Detective David Bucy told reporters Wednesday. "I think it's very obvious this could have been the worst day that that school could have ever experienced."

Staff members at Kids Care Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, made the alarming discovery at around 9 a.m. when the 6-year-old boy revealed the gun to a classmate. School administrators secured the gun immediately and placed the school on lockdown.

Bucy said the boy's grandparents had recently reported the gun stolen. It's unclear why he may have taken the weapon from his grandparents, who are also his guardians.

PHOTO: A 6-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun to school in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2019. Columbus Police Department
A 6-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun to school in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2019.

"Given the child's competency and the age, charges will not be forwarded to the juvenile prosecutor," Bucy said. "The incident remains open and will be investigated for any other charges that can be filed against any other known persons."

He said it was "difficult" for investigators to get answers from the child due to his age, but Bucy said he may have brought it to school to brag about it.

"The reason for why the child brought the gun to school could be any number of reasons. I think it was curiosity to one extent; I think it was, 'Look what I have in my bag,' to another extent," Bucy said. "The true reason why the gun was brought to school was not determined."

The child's grandparents were brought in for questioning, but no charges had been filed as of Wednesday night, the department said. If probable cause is found charges will be forwarded to the prosecutor's office, it said.

Bucy said it's common for schools to see an uptick in these types of incidents around the beginning and end of the school year. He said he hopes it serves as a reminder for parents and teachers alike.

PHOTO: A 6-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun to school in his backpack in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2019. Columbus Police Department
A 6-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun to school in his backpack in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2019.

"Certainly, if you're a firearm owner, we expect that the firearm is secured within your house or within your person at all times," he said. "And keeping firearms away from juveniles is a must, not a request."

Kids Care Elementary School said it was "proud of the school’s quick response to protect all staff and students from any potential harm and thankful to the police for their assistance."

Police said they're planning to refer the case to child protective services.

ABC News' Darren Reynolds contributed to this report.