Westchester High School earned a dubious distinction this week. It joined the list of schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District struck by gang violence this year.
A 16-year-old student, whose name is being withheld by police, was wounded Monday in a gang-related drive-by shooting shortly after 10:30 a.m. as he waited for an RTD bus in front of the school. A bullet fired from a .22-caliber handgun grazed the youth's stomach and he was taken to UCLA Medical Center, where he had surgery. A hospital spokesman said Wednesday morning that the student, who police believe is a gang member, was in fair condition.
Many students, describing the school as a quiet campus, were shocked by the incident.
"I heard about the shooting on the (public address) system and said, 'What's going on here?' " said Joseph Chryar, 17, a senior who played football with the victim. "This is not the type of school where gang members hang out."
Administrators said they believed the incident to be Westchester High's first gang-related shooting. However, police said that in 1986, a student was shot by suspected gang members in the school parking lot after a football game. Extra police have been requested in recent years to prevent gang activity at football games, police said.