Gardena High teen whose gun discharged in class to be charged as a juvenile

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After being released from a school lockdown a student rests her head on a wall outside Gardena High School in Gardena, California January 18, 2011.

A judge has ruled that a Gardena High School student whose gun discharged in his backpack will be tried as a juvenile.

The 17-year-old boy faces two felonies: possessing and discharging a firearm in a school zone. Two months ago, he carried a loaded 9-millimeter Beretta pistol to school in his backpack. When he reached into the backpack inside a classroom, he accidentally fired a single shot.

That bullet hit one student in the neck and another in the head. Both students were hospitalized – and are now recovering.

The police and courts have withheld the boy’s name because of his age, but prosecutors wanted to try him as an adult. A Long Beach Juvenile Court judge said no.

Convictions as an adult could have gotten him seven years in state prison. The maximum sentence if he’s convicted as a juvenile is nine months in a youth camp.

The boy is due back in court in about two weeks for a pre-trial hearing.

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