A 12-year-old girl was booked on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm Thursday after a shooting at Sal Castro Middle School left four students injured, authorities said.
Los Angeles police do not believe that the shooting was intentional, spokesman Josh Rubenstein said Thursday evening.
“At this time, the information suggests that this was an isolated incident, involving the negligent discharge of a firearm, where innocent children and a staff member were unfortunately injured,” the LAPD said in a statement.
The girl was taken to Los Angeles County’s Central Juvenile Hall.
The gunfire erupted in a classroom at the school in the Westlake neighborhood shortly after the opening bell and caused numerous students to run from the area, according to Los Angeles police Officer Drake Madison.
A semiautomatic handgun was recovered from the scene.
At least one student who was in the classroom told a reporter he thought the gunfire was unintentional.
“Someone decided to bring a gun, I guess someone was accidentally playing around with it,” said Benjamin, a 12-year-old seventh-grader, whose guardian asked that his last name not be used. “They thought it was a fake gun.”
When authorities responded around 8:55 a.m., they found a 15-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to the head, a 15-year-old girl shot in the wrist and three others with minor injuries.
Parents and nearby residents offered mixed views about campus safety. Some said bullying was an issue at Sal Castro, while others said gangs in the neighborhood are more of a concern. One mother said she wanted more security at the school.
Gonzalez said the area around the school can be dangerous at times.
“There’s a lot of gangs around the school and you do see them,” she said. “You see them fighting sometimes.”
The enrollment is 92% Latino, and most students are from low-income families.
On TV, news anchors have been saying that the guns “Accidentally discharged while being in her backpack”.