A 9-year-old boy who brought a loaded .22-caliber handgun to school has been suspended and arrested.
The fourth-grader was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center in Bradenton on a felony charge of possession of a gun on school property, according to Randy Warren, spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
The boy, whose name was not released because of his age, also was suspended for 10 days from Oneco Elementary School after a classmate saw the gun in his desk Thursday morning. The classmate took the gun to the teacher.
Oneco principal Marian Summers declined to comment.
Manatee County School District spokeswoman Marianne Lorentzen said it was most important that the other pupil had come forward after seeing the gun.
"We need to have children understand that it is so very, very important to speak out on situations that could threaten students' safety or staff's," Lorentzen said.
The boy told investigators a 14-year-old family friend hid the revolver in his family's laundry room.
The teenager later told detectives he had paid $40 for the revolver, thinking it was a pellet gun, Warren said. He said the teen said he hid the gun on a shelf in the younger boy's laundry room after finding out it was real.
The older youth and the person who sold him the gun also could face criminal charges.