Handgun found in student’s book bag

A school administrator found a handgun in the book bag of a 10-year-old student at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School in Front Royal on Friday.

Warren County Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron said in a written statement that the .380 caliber gun was inadvertently placed in the book bag by one of the child’s family members, who was visiting from South Carolina.

McEathron said the family member, Cody Wayne Barnes, 28, has been charged with allowing a child access to a firearm.

McEathron said no one knew the gun was in the book bag until Barnes called the school around mid-morning.

“It was a mistake,” McEathron said. “It was a bad mistake, sure, but it was a mistake, and the person realized it and contacted us.”

McEathron said he had no information as to whether the gun was loaded.

Deputy Karen Negron investigated the incident and found that Barnes had placed the gun in the book bag the night before, McEathron said. Barnes had mistaken the book bag for his own bag, McEathron said.

Barnes called the school Friday morning after being unable to locate the gun and realizing that he could have placed it in the child’s book bag. A school administrator went to the student’s classroom and located the gun. No students were in the classroom at the time.

“There was no huge search or anything like that,” McEathron said, adding that the school continued its normal schedule of classes during the incident.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com