Public Safety

Authorities: Gun in 12-year-old Davenport boy's attempted murder charge belonged to his dad, a felon

The 12-year-old Iowa boy accused of trying to kill his social studies teacher in front of his classmates used an illegally owned pistol that he got from his father’s unlocked gun cabinet, according to local authorities and court records.

Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane said the father of the boy, Joseph Andrews, had six guns in the house, including the one his son allegedly brought into a classroom five months ago at North Scott Junior High School in Eldridge.

But Andrews, 50, of Davenport, wasn’t supposed to keep any guns under an Iowa law that bars felons from doing so, authorities said.

Andrews now faces a felony charge that carries a maximum sentence of five years. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

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.

On August 31, police say the boy walked into his classroom with a loaded .22 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol and ordered his everyone to the floor. They say he then pointed the gun at his teacher’s face and pulled the trigger, but the gun’s safety device kept it from firing.

Afterward, the gun was wrestled away from the boy by school staff and he was taken into police custody, authorities say. Investigators later reported the gun was fully loaded with a bullet in the chamber, according to court records.

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Lane said Wednesday that Andrews cooperated with law enforcement when authorities searched his home on the same day that Andrews’ son was arrested on charges of attempted murder and carrying a gun on school grounds. Lane also 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 again, and a judge could determine if he should be imprisoned, released or serve another punishment.

While major developments in the case have yet to occur, the incident quickly gained national news attention once the story broke.

Last month, a Scott County judge ordered that news media organizations could not name minors involved, including the boy who faces the attempted murder charge or any witnesses. 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.

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