Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
People gather at the entrance to Gardena High School on Jan. 18, 2011 after two students were shot when a gun in a backpack went off in a classroom. The student who brought the gun has been charged with two felony counts.
Los Angeles County prosecutors have filed two felony charges against the teenaged suspect in this week’s shooting at Gardena High School. He’s scheduled to appear in court in Long Beach Friday for arraignment.
Authorities haven’t released the 17-year-old boy’s name because of his age. But his age won’t stop prosecutors from asking a Long Beach judge if they can try him as an adult.
He faces two felony counts: possession of a firearm in a school zone and discharge of a firearm in a school zone. He’s already on probation for punching another student last year.
The difference between getting charged as a juvenile or as an adult is huge. The maximum sentence if he’s convicted as a juvenile is nine months in a youth camp. If he’s charged as an adult, a conviction could get him seven years in state prison.
The LAPD says the teen suspect had brought the gun to school before – but not because he’d felt threatened. The weapon apparently belonged to his stepfather.
Authorities decided not to go after a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. That charge implies intent – and investigators don’t think the boy intended to shoot a classmate.