BB gun found on playground leads to warning about look-alikes

Friday, March 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SANTA FE - Kearny Elementary School officials say they are taking seriously the fact that a gun was found in the sand of the school playground - even though what looked like a .45-caliber pistol turned out to be a BB gun.

The new motto for schools was stated by Santa Fe Police Chief John Denko: ``No threat is an empty threat,'' said Joanne Ferguson, Santa Fe schools public information officer.

The .45-caliber repeater BB gun was buried up to its tip in the sand.

It ``had enough power to kill someone at close range,'' Ferguson said.

The weapon was more than 30 years old and didn't work because sand had gotten into its operating mechanism, Deputy Police Chief Beverly Lennen said.

Police will offer a training session soon for teachers about dangerous situations, said Ferguson. In addition, Kearny Principal Patrick Tate sent a letter Wednesday to parents explaining the incident and offering safety tips about guns at home, said Gloria Rendon, an assistant schools superintendent.

A Kearny student told a teacher Tuesday he found a gun on the playground while walking to his bus after school let out. The teacher picked up the gun and called police, Rendon said.

Police talked to students but didn't find out where the gun came from, Lennen said.

``One of the officers said the gun was old enough to have been hers while she was in elementary school,'' she said.

``A BB gun is still a gun and should be treated like one,'' said Richard Morley, vice president of the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association in Los Alamos. ``You might flash it at an officer and get shot.''