COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – A juvenile who had been arrested for having a loaded gun at a South Carolina mall this week was found with a second concealed gun after being booked into the Juvenile Detention Center.

Officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to Columbiana Centre on Wednesday after receiving reports that a woman and a teenager were presenting guns at people inside the mall.

The teen first ran from officers, but they were able to confiscate a loaded 9mm handgun after catching up with him. Investigators later learned through surveillance video that a relative, 40-year-old La’Kenyatta Moore-Rhodes, initially had the gun and handed it off to her child.

Moore-Rhodes was also arrested and charged in the incident.

Officials with the Columbia Police Department later determined that the juvenile had a second gun concealed on his body that was undetected by officers.

Staff at the Juvenile Detention Center learned that someone in the facility was possibly in possession of a weapon. A spokesperson said staff immediately responded and recovered the weapon without incident.

“The weapon was originally brought into the facility by a youth transported and charged with weapons violations by the City of Columbia. The youth was patted down, showered, and dressed in facility clothes,” said Joseph Cashion with the DJJ.

Cashion said the department has initiated an immediate review to revamp the intake process. They are also consulting with outside experts.

“All staff will be retrained on intake, search, and other safety procedures. The safety and security of our staff and youth is our highest priority,” he said.

Cashion said the department will work with law enforcement partners to prevent contraband from entering facilities in the future.

“This incident represents an egregious failure on many levels, including a violation of policy and procedure. This lack of a thorough search is unacceptable and risked public and officer safety,” said Jennifer Timmons, a spokesperson for the Columbia Police Department.

Columbia Police Chief William Holbrook has directed the Office of Professional Standards to conduct an Internal Affairs investigation.  He said the arresting officers have been placed on administrative duty pending the completion of remedial training on handcuffing and searching of prisoners.

Staff directly involved in the incident at the Department of Juvenile Justice have been suspended pending completion of that agency’s investigation.

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