How a 12-year-old girl became in possession of a gun that was used to shoot two teenagers, presumably accidentally, at a Los Angeles-area middle schools, wasn’t immediately known by authorities who arrived at the bloody scene Thursday.
The girl was arrested and booked on a charge of negligent discharge of a firearm on school grounds, a police official said. She is being held without bond, ABC 7 reported. The victims were two 15-year-olds, a boy and a girl.
The boy was listed in critical but stable condition from a gunshot wound to the head, and the girl was listed in fair condition after being shot through the wrist, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
“They thought it was a toy gun, but then it shot,” a seventh-grader in the classroom, Benjamin Urbina told ABC 7. He described hearing a “big pop” after the gun fired.
Flying shrapnel and broken glass incurred minor injuries to three others, a 30-year-old woman, an 11-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl.
The worst of the injured was the 15-year-old boy, who authorities say was shot through the temple.
“This child was extremely lucky,” Dr. Aaron Strumwasser said during a news conference at the medical center. “The trajectory of the bullet did not hit any vital structures that were an immediate threat to life. … I anticipate that he will make a full recovery.”
The 15-year-old girl suffered a gunshot wound to the right wrist. She is also expected to make a full recovery. The other two children who suffered minor injuries were treated and released from the hospital.
“Our children now see more shootings and deaths than we ever did in my lifetime,” said Inez Beckon-English, the hospital’s assistant director of clinical social work, ABC 7 reported. “(They) pretty much can be afraid to go to school to get an education because so many shootings are taking place.”
The suspect was taken into custody, and a semi-automatic handgun was found in the classroom, according to ABC 7. She was at the police station with her father being questioned. No information has been discovered as to how the girl came into possession of the game.
The girl’s grandmother who speaks Spanish described the girl as “amorosa” and “cariñosa” — loving and caring in a brief interview with ABC 7. The woman said her granddaughter had few friends and had been bullied by another girl.
The shooting occurred inside a classroom during a mixed-grade elective class, according to investigators. After the school was put on lockdown, it was later declared safe with no immediate threat to the campus.
“As a parent, this is everyone’s worst-case nightmare,” LAPD Deputy Chief Bobby Arcos said at a news conference at the scene.
He said the response by police officers and firefighters was “extraordinary.”