Questions Remain After Police Officer’s Rifle Discharges at Chino School

Questions remained Thursday about an incident at a Chino elementary school in which police said a student discharged an officer’s rifle during a drug-awareness presentation.

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A Chino police officer’s rifle was discharged by a student Wednesday during a drug-awareness program, a department spokeswoman said. (Credit: KTLA)

Two students were hospitalized with minor injuries in the incident, which occurred at 11:14 a.m. Wednesday, according to Tamrin Olden, spokeswoman for the Chino Police Department.

The injuries occurred when a student pulled the trigger on an AR-15 rifle that was mounted on a police motorcycle that was on display during an event for students, Olden said at a news conference.

“The rifle was…secured in the mount on the motorcycle during the incident,” Olden said. “The child did approach the mounted rifle.”

The “accidental discharge” incident occurred at Newman Elementary School during a demonstration that was part of “Red Ribbon Week,” a weeklong event promoting drug awareness, according to a statement from Chino Valley Unified School District.

“The preliminary investigation has shown that the established safeguards and procedures were not followed,” Chino Police Chief Miles Pruitt said in a statement Thursday. “It is unfortunate that this event occurred and I will make every effort to ensure it does not happen again.”

The students who were hospitalized had likely been struck by metal debris that went flying when the bullet hit a metal plate where the rifle’s barrel rests in the mount, Olden said.

The two students were treated at Loma Linda University Medical Center, a hospital spokesperson said. One student had metal removed from his or her eye.

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Students on the campus of Newman Elementary School in Chino, where a gun accidentally discharged Wednesday. (Credit: Digital Media Service)

A parent who asked not to be identified said her son was playing foresquare when the rifle was discharged.

“My son said a lot of the kids were crying, very scared, not wanting to go back to school,” the mother told KTLA.

KTLA’s Chip Yost, Kimberly Cheng and Feven Kiflegiorgis contributed to this report.