Police have taken a 12-year-old girl into custody after a shooting at a Los Angeles middle school that left at least five people injured, one in critical condition.
The shots began inside a classroom at Salvadore Castro Middle School at the beginning of the school day Thursday, sending students scrambling, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. One 15-year-old boy was wounded in the head, a 15-year-old girl was shot in the wrist, and three others suffered minor injuries before police arrived at the school around 8:55 a.m.
Los Angeles Fire Capt. Erik Scott told the Los Angeles Times that the male victim is in critical condition and the female victim is in fair condition. The other victims, including a 30-year-old woman, an 11-year-old boy, and a 12-year-old girl, suffered “minor abrasions,” police told the paper.
Police say the suspected shooter — an unidentified 12-year-old girl, who was led out of the school by two officers — is in custody and a firearm has been recovered. The girl taken into custody was in handcuffs and had long hair and was dressed in a blue sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers, news footage from the scene shows. One of the officers escorting her also appeared to be carrying a black backpack.
One parent at the school, Claudia Anzueto, told the AP her 12-year-old son used a classmate's phone to call her, saying he was in the classroom next to where the shooting occurred and knew the suspect.
Los Angeles Police deputy chief Robert Arcos told the Times it was too early to determine a motive. Nor is it clear how the student got access to the gun or how it was brought on campus: Los Angeles School Police Chief Steve Zipperman told local affiliate KNX-AM the school district conducts random searches of students for weapons and contraband.
According to the AP, the Los Angeles Unified School District policy requires all middle and high schools to conduct daily random searches, at random times, using metal-detector wands.
This is at least the third school shooting in the last two weeks. On January 22, a 16-year-old suspect opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun in a high school in Italy, Texas, injuring one. The next day, a 15-year-old male killed two people and injured at least 18 at a high school in Kentucky.
This story is developing and will be updated.