A 12-year-old girl has been taken into custody after two students were shot at a Los Angeles school.Jordan Valenzuela was in class when he heard a bang then screaming from the next classroom where a 15-year-old boy had been shot in the head, a 15-year-old girl was shot in the wrist and others were struck by broken glass.
Jordan told The Associated Press that his 12-year-old classmate at Salvador B. Castro Middle School in Los Angeles told him it was an accident.
The sobbing girl told him: “I didn’t mean to. I had the gun in my backpack and I didn’t know it was loaded and my backpack fell and the gun went off,”‘ the seventh-grader said.
The girl was taken into custody minutes after the shooting at around 9am on Thursday.
TV video from helicopters showed a dark-haired girl in a sweatshirt being led from the school in handcuffs.
Police interviewed the girl and agreed it was an accident. On Thursday evening the girl was booked into Juvenile Hall on suspicion of negligently discharging a firearm on school grounds.
Police haven’t said from where the girl got the semi-automatic handgun or why she brought it to the downtown campus.
Five people were injured in the shooting. The most seriously hurt was a 15-year-old boy who was shot in the head but doctors said the bullet didn’t hit anything vital or life-threatening.
“This child was extremely lucky,” said Dr. Aaron Strumwasser at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Centre. “I anticipate he’ll make a full recovery.”
A 15-year-old girl was shot in the wrist but Strumwasser said the injury was minor.
Three other people had minor face or head injuries, some from broken glass, but weren’t shot, officials said.
An 11-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were treated at the hospital and released while a 30-year-old woman who is a school staff member had only minor injuries, police said in a statement.
Jordan Valenzuela said he and other children began trying to help the victims and he noticed his friend sitting at her desk with her hands covering her face.
Jordan said later, the girl asked him to hide the backpack with the gun in it.
“I said ‘No,”‘ he said. “Then I moved away from her because I was a little bit scared.”
But, he said, “she doesn’t do bad things, she just stays quiet.”
Claudia Anzueto, Jordan Valenzuela’s mother, said she feared for her son’s life and “it scared the life out of me.”
Some officials used the shooting to call for gun safety legislation and others said it should give gun owners pause.
“This is a very important call to action to every adult in our community who has a gun,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said.
“You must store it safely and keep it out of access for any child to reach. It could result in a tragedy.”