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Granada Hills Student Shot Outside School

Violence: Incident at Kennedy High is believed to be gang-related. Victim had superficial wound.

June 21, 1996|FRANK B. WILLIAMS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

GRANADA HILLS — In what police suspect was a gang-related incident, a 16-year-old high school student was shot in the neck Thursday in Granada Hills after an argument outside the campus gates an hour after classes let out for the summer.

The unidentified victim was taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition after suffering a superficial wound from what appeared to be a .22-caliber gun. Hospital officials said he was doing well and would likely be released today.

John F. Kennedy High School Principal Warren Mason said the assailant, who fled on foot, was not believed to be a student. The shooting occurred as preparations for graduation Thursday night were underway. The school day ended about an hour before the shooting.

A witness said the victim had been standing on the sidewalk with about 15 other students about 1:30 p.m. when another youth walked up. The two had a brief exchange of words before the assailant pulled out a gun and shot the 10th-grader in the neck, the witness said.

Students nearby fled. One 17-year-old student, who was waiting for her parents, said once she knew the gunman was gone, she sought help for her wounded classmate. "He was bleeding a lot," she said. "I just ran inside and got the nurse."

Mason said the boy was alert when paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital.

School officials said it was the first shooting ever to occur so near the campus.

"Even though we have gang members on every campus, I've never heard of any gang-type problems at that school," said Gene McCallum, a school district administrator who oversees Kennedy and several other San Fernando Valley campuses. "This is the first situation like this that I know of at that school."

Once an investigation is completed, school officials will decide whether to beef up security at the campus, Mason said.

Times staff writer Beth Shuster contributed to this story.

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