RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> A 6-year-old brought a gun to a Rancho Cucamonga elementary campus earlier this month, but parents did not learn about it until nearly two weeks later.
On Thursday, parents at Los Amigos Elementary School received a letter from the Cucamonga School District, describing the events that led to the arrest of one parent.
On March 10, the grandmother of a 6-year-old student at Los Amigos found a real gun in her grandson’s backpack, according to Superintendent Janet Temkin’s letter. The grandmother called the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which immediately sent deputies to her home.
Deputies learned the boy got it from another boy, who brought the gun to school, Temkin wrote.
“During the preliminary investigation, deputies were unable to identify the other student involved,” deputies said in a news release issued Friday. “The juvenile could not provide deputies with the other child’s name or any identifying information to locate the other child involved.”
The next week was spring break.
Authorities believed pursuing this incident while school was not in session could have potentially compromised the investigation, according to the news release.
In an email Friday afternoon, Temkin said Los Amigos officials weren’t notified of the incident until March 20. She acknowledged parents did not get word until Thursday.
“In order not to compromise the investigation, the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department directed the district to hold correspondence to our school district community until the completion of the investigation,” she wrote.
The delay in public disclosure angers several parents.
“I do not feel my child is safe if the information is not being given to us immediately,” Andre Verastegui said in an email to this publication Thursday. “I would not have sent my child to school until this was fully resolved.”
This week, a deputy determined the child allegedly acquired the firearm from his parents’ safe at home. The child’s parents were identified as Charles Neazer and Nikki Horseman.
Child Family Services assisted and took custody of all four children living in the home, the sheriff’s news release said.
Deputies believe Neazer’s safe was accessible to his children, however, Neazer was allegedly unaware any of his children had accessed the contents of the safe, officials said. Neazer was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.
“Parents are barely being informed today,” Verastequi wrote Thursday. “Throughout the entire week of spring break and this week up until today nobody was aware of the high-alert situation that was developing on campus.”
Both boys involved in the incident “are no longer attending” Los Amigos or any other school in the district, Temkin said in an email Friday afternoon.
“We are very thankful that no one was injured. The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority,” she wrote.
According to Temkin, the school’s principal, Amber Arreguin, has already held several meetings with individual parents and groups of parents. Any additional meetings will be held as needed, she wrote.
That didn’t assuage parents.
On Thursday, “The superintendent and principal were outside the school after school to talk to parents about what had happened,” Verastequi wrote. “But every question that was asked of them they said they are not allowed to disclose. The only information we have is included in this letter.”
Rather than keep parents out of the loop, Price said she would have preferred the school at least acknowledge an investigation was being conducted — even if details were withheld.
“We should have been made aware,” Price said. “To have no clue to this incident makes me so angry. I didn’t even want to bring him (to school) today.”
“You send them to school because you think it’s safe and secure,” Velazquez said. “In my opinion, they should have told us right away, the day it occurred.”
Anyone with information regarding this incident can contact the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department at 909-477-2800. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can contact the WeTip Hotline at 800-78CRIME (27463) or at www.wetip.com.