Mom Deborah Farley Arrested after 7-Year-Old Son Brings Guns and Ammo to NYC School
A New York mother has been arrested after her 7-year-old son was caught bringing a handgun to his Queens elementary school.
Deborah Farley, 53, of Queens was arrested on Friday and charged with criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child, along with other weapons-related charges, NYPD officials said.
Tyler Farley, a first-grader at Wave Preparatory Elementary School in Far Rockaway, Queens, brought .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun and a flare gun to school in his backpack on Thursday, prompting officials to place the school on lockdown. Although the magazine was not inserted in the gun, it was fully loaded with 10 bullets. The child also had a bag with as many as 10 additional rounds of ammunition in the backpack. It is not clear whether there was a bullet in the chamber of the small but potentially deadly gun.
It is unclear whether the boy knowingly brought the gun to school or whether his older brother put it in the backpack, NYPD spokesman Paul J. Browne told reporters.
Walter Orozco, Tyler’s father, told the New York Post that the gun may belong to the boy’s 21-year-old brother, who he said is “in a gang.”
“I don’t know how that gun got into my son’s bookbag,” Orozco said. “We don’t own any guns.”
At some point during the morning, Farley allegedly realized that her son had brought the gun to school. She rushed there and told officials he needed to leave for a dentist appointment.
“Initially, it would appear that her intention was just to get the gun back and get it out of the school,” Browne said. But the boy told her that he’d passed the weapon to a classmate, forcing Farley to inform the principal, who then ordered the lockdown. Wave Preparatory has been preparing for such an incident ever since the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre.
A pair of school safety officers then found the flare gun, but not the .22, in the other student’s possession. That gun was found in Farley’s son’s backpack, along with the loaded clip and extra ammunition.
The incident left teachers and students rattled.
“I was crying. I was scared. I was hiding under the table for so long I couldn’t feel my legs,” 9-year-old student Eneisha Perez told the Post.
“I thought we were going to get killed,” 11-year-old fifth-grader Javier Ferrufino told the New York Times. “We went to the back of the classroom. I hid with my friends behind some computers.”
Orozco defended his wife, telling the Post that “she’s a good mom.” Orozco added that Tyler was bullied at school.
Tyler and his 10-year-old sister have been placed in state custody.
Besides being on edge after the Connecticut school shooting last month, parents and students in Far Rockaway are reeling from the effects of superstorm Sandy, which ravaged the area. Many residents are still living without heat or electricity in the dead of winter nearly three months after the devastating storm as they await desperately-needed emergency relief.
On Wednesday, police in Toronto, Canada, which has stringent gun control laws, seized a loaded .357 Magnum revolver at the Blessed Mother Theresa Catholic Secondary School. Four teens face numerous weapons charges in connection with the incident.