GALLOWAY — A search is underway for a man police say placed a loaded handgun into a first-grader's backpack, after the gun was later found at his school on Tuesday.

The loaded Taurus 9mm handgun was found by the 7-year-old at the Atlantic Community Charter School in Galloway just after 3 p.m., and he told one of his teachers, according to Galloway police. Officers secured the weapon and the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency was contacted along with the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office, police said.

Investigators determined the boy was unaware of the gun and believe a relative staying with the boy's family, Lamar Keith Williamson, put it in the backpack. Police did not disclose the relationship between the boy and Williamson or why he was staying with the family.

A warrant was issued for Williamson's arrest and he was charged with endangering the welfare of children, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon by a prohibited person (a convicted felon).

Police said anyone with information about Williamson's whereabouts should call them at 609-652-3705 or the Atlantic County Crime Tip Hotline at 609-652-1234.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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