VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) — A Venice mom is facing two charges in Sarasota County court after sending her kindergartner to school with a loaded revolver in their backpack in May, according to an affidavit from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. She missed her court date in October, earning a second charge for contempt of court.
According to the affidavit, an officer at Taylor Ranch School contacted the sheriff’s office after Sarasota school police conducted an investigation on May 4 where they found a student had brought a gun into the school. Further investigation found that the weapon was “stolen out of SSO jurisdiction.”
The sheriff’s office document says the kindergarten student opened his bag at school and found a black case. Inside the case was “a silver handgun” which he brought to his teacher’s attention. The teacher then contacted a school police officer, who discovered the firearm was loaded.
After the school officer unloaded the firearm and “made it safe,” the sheriff’s office contacted the child’s parent, Ariana Carroll. She came to the school and was interviewed around 2 p.m. that day, according to the affidavit.
Carroll told deputies that “she had put the cased firearm into the child’s backpack the night before as she was clearing out her vehicle.” She told deputies that this had happened after visiting her newborn at the hospital, and she’d forgotten to take the gun case out of the bag before her son went to school.
The affidavit says the gun had been reported stolen a month before the incident after Carroll cleared out a storage unit and brought several firearms she owned to her mother’s house. When she searched for the firearms, she found the gun that her son had at school. It had been reported stolen by her boyfriend in late 2019 while they were living together.
According to the sheriff’s office record, Carroll told deputies that she was worried about possessing the firearm “because she did not want to get into trouble for possessing a stolen firearm or making a false report.” She told deputies that she had planned on turning the firearm into law enforcement and put the gun in her vehicle, but had removed it along with her son’s bag after her father said he wanted to borrow the vehicle.
Following the investigation, Carroll was charged with improper storage of a firearm. She was supposed to appear in court at the South County Courthouse Annex in Venice on Sept. 20.
Documents from the court clerk show that while Carroll appeared in court in September, she missed her next scheduled appearance on Oct. 4. When she failed to appear, a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Appealing to the judge, Carroll wrote a letter asking for leniency due to her alleged confusion over the date for her court appearance. In her letter, Carroll tells the judge that she’d misread the date for her court appearance, thinking it read “10/11” instead of “10/4” and instead showed up to court on Oct. 11.
In the letter, dated Oct. 12, Carroll tells the judge that she was not allowed to get the paperwork to show the error, nor allowed to call her employer to tell them about the situation, and lost her job. She says that she wanted to make sure it doesn’t happen again and doesn’t receive another charge, and “I just want to accept the offer from the court.”
Now, Carroll faces the two charges and is due back in court on Nov. 4.