Police are investigating after a loaded handgun was found in a 7-year-old boy's book bag at a school in Far Rockaway, a law enforcement official tells NBC 4 New York.
Police also recovered a flare gun at the school, but it wasn't immediately clear whether the boy had brought it in.
The boy's mom brought him to P.S. 215 Thursday morning, and came back to the school a short time later, claiming she needed to take him to a doctor appointment.
Law enforcement sources said the mother learned her son had a gun in his bag and went to the school to try to retrieve it under the guise of a doctor appointment. When she couldn't find the gun in his bag, she alerted school officials.
School officials found the loaded .22-caliber handgun and police were called. It's not clear how the mother knew her son had the firearm, nor how school officials found it.
The school was then locked down for about 45 minutes.
Fourth-grader Israel Tavares said kids were herded into the back of his classroom and told to say quiet. When asked what was going through his mind, he said: "The person was gonna find us."
Another student said she ran to the back of her classroom "so if someone went through the door they wouldn't be able to see me."
Parents were rattled when they learned about the gun scare.
Cecilia Dennis said her 8-year-old son, Giovanni, had to crouch down by the water fountain during the lockdown.
"We send our kids here to have an education," she said. "And we have to worry about things of this nature."
Police are now questioning the mother and the 27-year-old brother of the boy, the law enforcement official said.