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Family members wait for their children outside Gardena High School on Jan. 18, 2011 where two students were shot after a gun in another student's backpack accidentally discharged. From left to right are Eliut Maururi, Elisabeth Guerrero and Maria Avila.
Two Gardena High School students are in the hospital Tuesday — one in critical condition — after a gun discharged in their health class. Los Angeles Unified School District Police Chief Steve Zipperman told reporters in an afternoon briefing that a 17-year-old boy carried the firearm to school in a backpack.
“At this point in time, based on the information we have, it appears that it is a possible accident. Again, until our investigation continues, until we get witness statements, until we’re able to analyze the weapon and other evidence, we cannot say for sure that this is accidental,” said Zipperman. “We just don’t know. We’re assuming based on the preliminary information we have that it appears to be.”
The suspect, a 17-year-old senior, is in custody. Police said they don’t know whether gangs had anything to with the incident.
Administrators at Gardena High School carry out random checks with hand-held metal detectors. That approach leaves many students unchecked. LAUSD has mobilized grief counselors to address students’ distress about the incident.