Loaded gun found, discharged at elem. school

Posted at 10:26 AM, Feb 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 17:30:36-05

A gun was found the on the campus of Rock Crusher Elementary School in Homosassa. The gun discharged when a member of the school staff picked it up and fired it into the ground.

Citrus County deputies say it happened prior to the start of school, just after 8:00AM when parents were dropping off their children for YMCA Before and After School Care.

A mother, dropping off her child, saw the gun on the ground and immediately found a school employee.

A member of the school staff found the gun and immediately secured it. Then, a janitor picked it up, and, believing it to be a pellet gun, tried to empty the pellets into the ground nearby, deputies said.

He accidentally discharged one bullet.

No one was injured.

The school resource officer was immediately contacted and the areas was secured.

The school district now says the janitor should have waited for a trained school resource officer to secure the gun and he should not have fired it. It's still to early to determine whether he will be disciplined by the school board, but they also said they believe this was an honest mistake.

"The employee did not intentionally do anything that he thought was putting anyone in harm," said Assistant Superintendent Mike Mullens. "He felt like he was acting in a prudent way."

Deputies said it would have been easy to think the gun was a pellet gun.

"It's a small gun," said Lindsay Blair, a Citrus County Sheriff's Office spokesperson. "Very similar to a pellet gun, so that's why the staff member who picked it up, and the janitor who got it, that's what they thought it was."

After looking through surveillance video and researching the serial numbers on the weapon, deputies determined the owner of the gun to be Roy Caffera of Crystal River. 

Detectives learned from the video surveillance footage that approximately five minutes passed from when the gun accidentally fell on the grass to when it was found by the parent and turned over to the custodian, deputies said. During this time, the gun was not disturbed.
Even though Caffera has a permit to carry, Action News has learned that because the school is a gun-free zone, it's unknown whether he will face any charges. The case may soon be referred to the state attorney's office.

Now, school leaders say they will be doing some retraining for school staff when it comes to finding a weapon on campus.

"'More than anything, it's going to be a learning opportunity for us to make sure that we share that with all of our staff on how to properly secure that situation," Mullens said.

There is no threat of danger on the school campus or any other campuses in the district, deputies say.

The school district contacted parents shortly after the incident. 

ABC Action News is following this story and will bring you updates as they become available.