The 12-year-old boy accused of trying to kill his social studies teacher in front of his North Scott Junior High School classmates used an illegally owned pistol he got from his father’s unlocked gun cabinet, according to local authorities and court records.
Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane says the father of the boy, Joseph Andrews III, had six guns in the house, including the one his son allegedly brought into a classroom five months ago. But Andrews, 50, of Davenport, wasn’t supposed to keep any guns because federal and state laws bar felons from doing so, authorities say.
Andrews now faces one felony charge that carries a 5-year maximum sentence. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Andrews was issued a citation to appear in Scott County District Court. He made an initial appearance Monday before Magistrate Eric Syverud.
A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Jan. 25. Andrews remains free on his own recognizance.
According to the arrest affidavit filed Dec. 28 by Scott County Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Erwin, Andrews was convicted of felonies on Jan. 9, 1987, May 8, 1987, and Aug. 29, 1988.
The weapons charge against Andrews marks the latest development following a harrowing incident that officials have painted as a would-be school shooting thwarted by his son’s unfamiliarity with guns. The Quad-City Times has so far chosen not to name the boy because of his age, though his case is being heard in adult court.
On August 31, police say the boy walked into his classroom with a loaded .22 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol and ordered everyone to the floor. He then pointed the gun at his teacher’s face and pulled the trigger, but the gun’s safety device kept it from firing.
School staff wrestled the gun from the boy. Investigators later reported it was fully loaded with a bullet in the chamber.
Lane said Wednesday Andrews cooperated with law enforcement when authorities searched his home the same day his son was arrested on charges of attempted murder and carrying a gun on school grounds. Lane said the guns were “easily accessible.”
The boy has been held in Scott County's juvenile jail since his arrest. His case was transferred to adult court last month under a state law that classifies him as a youthful offender.
If the boy is convicted as a youthful offender, he would remain in juvenile custody until he turns 18 years old. His case would then be reviewed, and a judge could determine if he should be imprisoned, released or serve another punishment.
Last month, a Scott County judge ordered that news media organizations could not name minors involved, including the boy. That ruling came after the boy’s defense attorneys asked the court keep certain details about the case from being publicly accessible, citing his age, level of education and the potential harm to his future.