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South Bay Dad Faces Child Cruelty, Weapons Charges After Teen Son Brings Gun to School

The 14-year-old student brought a loaded .44-caliber revolver to school on Wednesday.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A 36-year-old felon was in custody today—facing child cruelty and weapons charges—after his 14-year-old son brought the man's loaded handgun to Chula Vista's Hilltop High School, where the boy is a ninth-grader, police said.

Zachariah Joseph Dow was arrested and booked into jail Wednesday night on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm, owning prohibited ammunition, child cruelty and criminal storage of a firearm, according to jail records.

The boy's name was not released, but according to Chula Vista police, he was also arrested.

The incident began about 11 a.m. Wednesday when an assistant principal at the Chula Vista secondary school called police to report that several students had seen a 14-year-old student displaying a handgun in class, CVPD Lt. Fritz Reber said.

"They claimed the suspect student ... made statements indicating that the gun was loaded and that he could potentially use (it) to shoot someone at school," Reber said.

When officers went to the boy's classroom and summoned him, he stood up and reached for his backpack, though not in "an aggressive way," the lieutenant said.

They rushed over and took him into custody without incident. Inside the suspect's book bag was a loaded .44-caliber revolver believed to belong to his father, according to police.

The arrested teen was expected to be booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of bringing a loaded firearm onto school grounds.

The boy's father was arrested because detectives discovered that Dow was a convicted felon and was in possession of at least one firearm, the .44 caliber gun that police seized at the school.

An unsecured .22 caliber pistol was then found under a mattress in the bedrooms.

Dow was cooperative and turned himself in at about 6 p.m., according to Chula Vista police.

—City News Service


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