Documents: Student who brought gun to Queen Creek school used ladder to get it from parent’s room

A 4th-grade student who brought a gun to Legacy Traditional School in Queen Creek in August found it in his parents’ room, court documents say.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 3:53 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 8:18 PM MST
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QUEEN CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A 4th-grade student who brought a gun to Legacy Traditional School in Queen Creek in August found it in his parents’ room, court documents say.

On Wednesday, Aug. 24, a student at the school saw that a 4th-grade classmate had a bullet. The student told their parents what they saw after they got home from school. The parent then told school officials what their child had seen. The next day, Legacy School staff members approached the 4th grader as he came into the school.

Staff moved the child away from fellow students and searched his backpack. It was then that a staff member found a gun with a loaded magazine inside, although the chamber of the gun was empty. Staff then called the Queen Creek Police Department, and when officers arrived, they took the weapon and started their investigation. Police determined that there wasn’t a bullet in the chamber but that the magazine contained 16 rounds of ammunition.

When the gun was found, it was loose in the backpack and was not in a holster.

How the boy got the gun

According to court documents released on Tuesday, the 4th grader told a classmate that he brought a gun to school “for protection” and that he got the gun from his parents’ bedroom. He also showed a bullet he brought with him to various classmates. Queen Creek police learned in their investigation that the child’s parents, Briana Juarez and Keith Martinez, did not have enough safety measures in place to prevent their child from having access to the gun.

At first, Juarez told investigators that the firearm was in a locked chest-style dresser, but later she clarified that the gun itself was not locked up but that the gun had a lock on it. She stated that it was stored in an unsecured drawer in a tall dresser. She then said she had been in the dresser in the morning on Aug. 24 but that she did not notice the gun was missing or when she last saw the gun with the lock on it. Neither parent had been able to find the gun lock since the incident, according to court documents.

The boy told police that the gun was “kind of tough to get” and that he had to use a ladder to get to it. The boy knew his parents had a gun because they had taken him out to learn how to shoot.

“Do you want to shoot the gun with me?”

According to court documents, the boy had asked another classmate if he wanted to shoot the gun with him. The boy also bragged about having access to pills, wine, guns and alcohol. “Do you want some pills? They make brain go crazy.” The boy also told classmates that when his parents weren’t home, he’d drink alcohol.

Police submitted charges against the boy, including carrying or possessing a firearm and possessing a deadly weapon on school grounds. Police also filed charges against the boy’s parents. If approved, they will be charged with one count each of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Carla Allen, Phoenix Children’s Hospital Psychology Division Chief, is reminding parents to secure guns so children don’t have easy access. “We as adults in our lives really need to be people who are responsible gun owners with safe storage in mind, never underestimating for a moment the possibility that our sweet, well-intentioned children might do something impulsive,” she explained.

Allen also shared advice on how parents should keep guns locked up. “Safe storage includes ideally locking guns separately from ammunition, and making sure we’ve secured all of them,” she said. For more information about safe gun storage, click/tap here.