Shooting at LA school was an accident, police say

Updated February 1, 2018 - 7:45 pm

A Los Angeles police spokesman says a middle-school shooting that wounded four children was accidental.

Spokesman Josh Rubenstein says the 12-year-old girl arrested in Thursday’s shooting was being booked on a charge of negligent discharge of a firearm on school grounds.

Twelve-year-old Jordan Valenzuela, a classmate, tells The Associated Press that he talked to her just after the shooting.

He says she was sobbing and kept repeating, “I didn’t mean it.” He says she told him that the gun was in her backpack and that it accidentally went off when she dropped the bag.

The shooting left one teenager critically wounded and three other children injured.

A 15-year-old boy hit in the head was transported to a trauma center in critical but stable condition, according to fire department spokesman Erik Scott. A 15-year-old girl with a gunshot wound to the wrist was taken to a hospital in fair condition, Scott said.

Three other people, ranging in age from 11 to 30, suffered minor cuts and scrapes.

Police arrested the female student and recovered a gun after the shooting that happened just before 9 a.m. at Salvador B. Castro Middle School, west of the city’s downtown.

No metal detectors

The district has a policy that requires every middle and high school campus to conduct daily random searches by metal-detector wands at different hours of the school day for students in the sixth grade and up. Officials have not said whether students at the school were subject to any weapons screening Thursday.

Anzueto said there were no metal detectors at the school.

“Not safe, not safe, very insecure,” she said. “I fear for my son’s life. You know what I mean, you really hear about things like this in the news, and just to hear that something like that happened so close to home, it scared the life out of me.”

Castro has about 365 students in grades 6-8 and almost all are Hispanic and many from low-income families.

At a school event last month where good attendance certificates were presented, Principal Erick Mitchell said the campus is becoming a destination for families who want a smaller school setting, the Los Angeles Times reported. Castro said an emphasis at the school on long-term goals such as college and careers has improved student behavior, he said.

“We have a new culture here,” Mitchell said at the time. “I love this school. We have really good kids here. It’s the best-kept secret in town.”

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