Home / Blog / Grand Rapids mom, fiancé charged after child, 7, brings gun to school

Grand Rapids mom, fiancé charged after child, 7, brings gun to school

Jul 19, 2023Jul 19, 2023

A mother and her fiancé have been charged in Kent County after a 7-year-old brought a gun to a Grand Rapids elementary school in a backpack earlier this month, according to prosecutors.

Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker said Tuesday the mother, Aubrey Wilson, was charged with fourth-degree child abuse, a misdemeanor. Her fiancé, Chelsea Berkley, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Berkley's gun was not legally owned, said Grand Rapids police Chief Eric Winstrom.

Berkley allegedly brought the gun into the home and Wilson allegedly left the gun where it was accessible to the 7-year-old, Becker said. The child brought the gun to Cesar Chavez Elementary School on May 3.

Winstrom said he did not think there was criminal intent on the child's part. He said it was "just kids being kids," and the responsibility should have been on adults to ensure the gun was secured.

"It sends a message that parents will be held accountable," Winstrom said during a news conference.

Winstrom said it was alarming that just a week after they had a news conference about the case on May 3, another child, a third grader, brought a loaded gun to school at Stocking Elementary School. He said in his 23 years of policing, he has never seen children that young bring guns to school.

He said he was glad Grand Rapids schools had a culture that made two young children feel comfortable coming forward to tell adults about the gun, averting what could have been a tragedy.

Winstrom said his office still is working on the Stocking case.

Grand Rapids Public Schools banned backpacks last week after a handgun was found on a student for the fourth time in the academic year. In three of the four incidents, the gun was in a backpack.

The Stocking Elementary School third-grader had a loaded gun in a backpack, the district said in a statement. Winstrom said his office is still working on that case.

Principal Michael Thomasma said in a letter to parents that it was frustrating to see the increasing frequency of guns being brought to schools across the nation. The district said the student is no longer at the school.

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