An 11-year-old student at La Belle Aire Elementary School was arrested Thursday morning after school officials found an unloaded handgun in her backpack, according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.

The school principal received reports that the student was playing with a gun and lighter before school at an off-campus location, according to Casey Rayborn Hicks, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman. When the student was brought to school by her mother, school officials searched her backpack and found the unloaded .40 caliber handgun.

The girl took the gun from a family member without that person's knowledge, Hicks said, and she didn't have any ammunition for the weapon.

Hicks said the principal took the weapon and contacted the School Drug Task Force about 9:30 a.m. The student was arrested on a count of illegally carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon on school property and firearm-free zone. She was taken to the East Baton Rouge Juvenile Detention Center, Hicks said.

Hicks asks anyone with information on the incident or similar incidents to notify a school official or the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office at (225) 389-5000. They can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at (225) 344-STOP. Students may text CS255 and their message to CRIMES.

Compiled from staff reports. To contact a crime reporter at The Advocate, email or call (225) 388-0369.