NYPD: Mom put gun in 7-year-old's backpack

The NYPD provided a photo of a .22 The NYPD provided a photo of a .22 caliber semiautomatic handgun, top, and a flare gun which, police said, a 7-year-old Queens boy brought to school in his backpack. (Jan. 17, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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A Queens mother was arrested Friday after she admitted to police that she put a .22-caliber handgun, ammunition and a flare gun in the backpack her 7-year-old son took to his Far Rockaway school, officials said.

Deborah Farley, 53, of Far Rockaway, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child and other charges in the Thursday incident, which caused police to order an hourlong lockdown at Wave Preparatory Elementary School, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

Farley told police she had been out walking in Queens late Wednesday with the gun, ammunition and flare pistol stored in the backpack, but she failed to remove the items before the boy went to school the next morning, Browne said.

Browne said the 7-year-old arrived at Wave Preparatory, a public school, about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, escorted by his mother.

After learning from her 9-year-old son that the .22-caliber gun had been taken to school, the mother returned to the school and tried to take her son out of class, Browne said. The boy told her he gave the "gun" to a classmate, although he was talking about the flare pistol, Browne said. School safety officers checked the boy's backpack and found the gun and ammunition.

Farley told police she bought the .22 caliber pistol in June or July for protection because people had been hanging around the stairwell of her building, said the office of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Wednesday night, Farley put the weapons in her son's school bag, and she knew the flare gun was unloaded because her children had played with it in the past, Brown's office said.

Farley has four children between the ages of 27 and 7. The two youngest children have been placed in protective care with the Administration for Children's Services, Browne said.

Farley was arraigned last night and bail was set at $35,000. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

With Ellen Yan, John Valenti

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