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Gun Accident Wounds Teenager at School

Los Angeles

October 27, 2001|MARTHA GROVES | TIMES EDUCATION WRITER

An 11th-grader was in stable condition Friday after being shot at a Redondo Beach high school when a friend's handgun, carried in a backpack, accidentally discharged, authorities said.

The 12th-grade student who had taken the .38-caliber handgun to Redondo Union High School cooperated with police after they arrived on campus to investigate, school officials said.

He was arrested on suspicion of having a stolen firearm and of possessing a firearm on campus and was released to his parents. Police and school officials said neither student had a criminal record or a known gang affiliation.

The incident took place about 10 a.m. when about 75 students were in the freshman quad area at snack time. The senior set his backpack on a ledge, but it fell to the ground and the gun went off, officials said.

The 11th-grader, who is 16, said he felt a pain, police and school officials said. Seeing a puncture wound, he went to the nurse for first aid, but the nurse was unable to determine what had caused the injury.

Some students reported that they thought a cherry bomb might have exploded. School officials ordered a lock-down and called police, who arrested the older student after a 40-minute investigation.

The wounded student was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where doctors determined that he had been shot. The bullet entered the boy's upper left side and pierced a lung before exiting near his collarbone. He was in stable condition after surgery and was expected to recover fully, said Jerry Klein, a spokesman for the Redondo Beach Unified School District.

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