Police: LA school shooting was accidental

One victim is in critical condition.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Update:

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles police say middle school shooting that critically wounded boy was accidental.


A shooting in a classroom at Salvador Castro Middle School in the Westlake district today left two students wounded, one critically, and a female student was taken into custody.
   The shooting occurred around 9 a.m. at the school in the 1500 block of West Second Street, police said.
   Arriving officers ``located a few victims and they also located the suspect, who they took into custody without further incident,'' Los Angeles police Lt. Chris Ramirez said. ``A gun was recovered at (the) scene.''
   The handcuffed teenage girl was seen being taken into custody and placed into an LAPD patrol car. Los Angeles School Police Department Chief Steve Zipperman called her a ``person of interest.''
   Early reports indicated the girl was 15 years old, but Zimmerman later said she is believed to be 12 years old.
   Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department said the most seriously injured patient was a 15-year-old boy who was shot in the head and listed in critical but stable condition. A 15-year-old girl suffered a gunshot wound to a wrist.
   Three other victims -- 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,'' Scott said. He said none of those three were struck by gunfire.
   The middle school shares a campus with Belmont High School, and both campuses were placed on lockdown.
   Zipperman confirmed that the shooting occurred inside a classroom, but it was unclear what prompted the gunfire or how the gun wound up on the campus. Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Robert Arcos said ``it is still too early'' to understand a motive for the shooting or how a student obtained a weapon.
   Zipperman said authorities' initial focus will 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.
   ``We have our school mental health folks who are here to support the needs of the students and we will continue to work with those students,'' he said.
   After the suspect was taken into custody and the wounded students were taken to hospitals, police went room to room on the locked-down campus, leading many students out with their hands behind their backs.
   Mayor Eric Garcetti told ABC7 at the scene it was unclear how the gun wound up on campus, and if the shooting was intentional or accidental.
   ``We're unclear whether a gun went off or if it was an intentional shooting,'' he said. ``Luckily there are no fatalities or serious injuries.''
   He said he believes the most seriously injured student was ``grazed'' in the head by a bullet.
   ``We need to find out how did that gun get into the school,'' Garcetti told the station. But he stressed that the mental well-being of other students on campus is addressed.
   ``We have a lot of people from the mayor's Crisis Response Team as well as counselors from the school district to help these young people deal with the situation to make sure there's not furthertrauma to them from what happened,'' he said.
   Shortly before midday, LAUSD Interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian said classes would continue for the rest of the day at both Castro Middle School and Belmont High School, with counselors provided in each classroom. She assured parents that there was no remaining danger on the campus, but the shooting ``will be carefully investigated.''
   ``We could not control or know about this situation, but our schools are safe,'' she said.
   The district set up an information hotline for parents at (213) 241-1000.
   Zipperman declined to provide specifics about security measures that are in place at the Castro Middle School campus, saying tersely that every secondary school in the district has ``policies and procedures'' in place to protect students.

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