Los Angeles:Two 15-year-old students in Los Angeles were shot and wounded in class Thursday, in the latest school shooting to hit the United States.
A boy was shot in the head, while a girl was hit in the wrist, according to reports from the scene. Local news agency CNS reported that a 15-year-old girl, possibly a fellow student, had been arrested.
Paramedics sent to Salvador Castro Middle School in the central Westlake area at 9:00 am (1700 GMT) said both students were taken to hospital, with the boy in critical but stable condition and the girl faring better.
An 11-year-old boy, a 12-year-old girl and a 30-year-old woman “had minor abrasions to the face area, some from glass,” Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
Officers arriving on the scene “located a few victims and they also located the suspect, who they took into custody without further incident. A gun was recovered at (the) scene,” Los Angeles police Lt. Chris Ramirez said.
A handcuffed female suspect was shown on aerial TV footage being taken into custody and placed into an LAPD patrol car while police went room to room, leading many students out with their hands behind their backs.
The middle school is located in a building across the street from the main Belmont High School. The entire school complex remained under lockdown despite being deemed safe.
Mayor Eric Garcetti told the local ABC7 new channel at the scene it was unclear how the gun wound up on campus, and if the shooting was intentional or accidental.
He said he believed the most seriously injured student was “grazed” on the head by a bullet.
– ‘Traumatic incident’ –
Chief Steve Zipperman of the Los Angeles School Police Department confirmed that the shooting occurred inside a classroom, but said it was unclear what prompted the gunfire or how the gun wound up on the secure campus.
He said a main focus would be caring for students who may have witnessed the shooting.
“We know this is a very traumatic incident for all the children involved, particularly inside that classroom,” he said.
“As we continue to move forward with this, I want everyone to have a clear understanding that we will attend to the needs of these students who witnessed this very carefully, with the understanding this is very traumatic.”
It is the most high profile incident involving gun violence at school in California since four people were killed and nearly a dozen wounded in November last year when a gunman went on a rampage, randomly picking his targets.
The assailant was killed by police following the mass shooting in Rancho Tehama Reserve, northern California, which unfolded over several locations in the community, including the elementary school.
The latest shooting will reignite the long-running debate on America’s epidemic of gun violence and the ready accessibility of high-powered weapons.
More than 33,000 people die annually in the United States from gun-related deaths — two thirds of them suicides — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Families of victims of one of the deadliest shootings in modern US history pushed to reinstate a lawsuit to hold a gun manufacturer responsible for the tragedy.
Remington manufactured the military-style assault rifle used in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults. AFP
Story first published: 2nd February 2018