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Kindergarten boy was showing off gun when it fired

By Deborah Quinn Hensel

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The 6-year-old boy who brought a gun to his school cafeteria in Houston was showing it off to a classmate when it fired, injuring him and two other kindergarten students, Houston Police said on Thursday.

The boy was sliding a mechanism that cocks the Kel-Tec 9 millimeter gun, which Capt. Lori Bender of the Houston police said it not easy to do. In his effort to grip the gun, he accidentally pulled the trigger and it fired, she said.

"As soon as the gun went off, it surprised him and he dropped it," Bender said.

The trajectory of the bullet remained low as it fell under the table, striking him, another 6-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl in the legs and feet. The boy with the gun has undergone two operations for his injuries, Bender said.

Carol Wittman, a spokeswoman for Texas Children's Hospital, said Thursday that the boy is still in the hospital in good condition, while the other two children have been released.

The weapon belonged to a family friend and police are investigating how the boy got it and took it to school, Bender said. The investigation has not concluded, which is why the incident has not yet been referred to the District Attorney's office for charges, Bender said.

Police are still conducting interviews with other children and reviewing videotaped footage from Betsy Ross Elementary School. The small handgun in the boy's pocket was apparently undetected because the boy was wearing oversized khaki shorts, school spokesman Norm Uhl said on Wednesday.

There are no previous reports about the family on file with Child Protective Services, officials said.

The Houston School District Code of Conduct mandates that any student under the age of 10 who brings a gun to school will be expelled for a year, Uhl said. It was not clear if the student had been expelled.

(Editing by Greg McCune)