Local Crime, News, Police/Fire

Loaded handgun found in child’s backpack at Peabody daycare center

A loaded handgun was found in a child's backpack at Little Sprouts on Friday. (courtesy )

PEABODY — A Lynn father is facing charges after a loaded handgun was found inside his child’s backpack at a daycare center Friday.

Peabody Police said they were called to Little Sprouts on First Avenue when a teacher discovered the Smith & Wesson 380 semiautomatic pistol.

When officers arrived, staff told them the weapon had accompanied one of the children dropped off that morning. 

An investigation found the handgun was owned by Jonathan David Smithers, the child’s dad. The 32-year-old man has been charged with child endangerment and improper storage of a firearm. 

In addition, police said a report of suspected child abuse or neglect will be filed with the state Department of Children and Families. 

Police Chief Thomas Griffin said the gun’s safety mechanism was on and the pistol was taken to police headquarters. No one was injured.

He said Smithers has a license to carry firearms from a neighboring community.

A man who answered the door at Smithers’ address provided by police near the Lynn Woods Elementary School acknowledged his name was Jonathan.  But denied he was the gun owner.

Griffin praised the quick action of daycare staff to ensure everyone’s safety.

The gun, known as the “Bodyguard,” is described by the manufacturer as compact, lightweight, and highly concealable.

Little Sprouts could not be reached for comment. They operate 27 facilities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire from Boston to Nashau.

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