Los Angeles, CA – Four students were shot when a 12-year-old female student opened fire at a middle school in the Westlake district on Thursday morning.
The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) said a 15-year-old boy was shot in the head and a 15-year-old girl was shot in the wrist after a female student opened fire inside the classroom at Sal Castro Middle School where they were taking an elective, NBC News reported.
The boy was in serious condition, and the girl was in fair condition, LAFD said.
According to Dr. Aaron Strumwasser, a trauma surgeon at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, the boy was “extremely lucky” that the bullet missed vital structures.
Two other students, an 11-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl who were only grazed by bullets, were taken to the hospital, treated, and released, according to CNN.
A 30-year-old woman was also injured and taken to the hospital, but the cause of her injuries was unknown.
Police said they received the first call about the shootings at Sal Castro at 8:55 a.m. on Feb. 1.
The shootings occurred in an elective class that had students from many different grades participating, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Lieutenant Chris Ramirez said.
Officers arrived on the scene quickly and the shooter was taken into custody. A semiautomatic gun was seized by police, Lt. Ramirez said.
Helicopter news footage showed two officers leading a handcuffed girl with to a police car.
Police didn’t reveal what led up to the shootings, nor why the 12-year-old student opened fire on her classmates.
LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos told the Los Angeles Times it was too early to determine a motive in the shooting.
Police conducted a thorough search of the student body before releasing kids back to class or into their parents’ custody. The Westlake school district announced it was continuing classes at the school, but said parents who wished to pick up their children could do so, after police had released them.
Video from KTLA’s news helicopters showed officers still searching students up against a wall of the school building, and releasing them one at a time, hours after the incident occurred.
Meanwhile, frantic parents descended on the campus that remained in lockdown.
Rosario Hernandez, 41, said her 16-year-old son Jimmy Romero called her about 9 a.m. to tell her there had been a shooting at his little brother’s school.
Jimmy is a student at Belmont High School, on whose campus Castro Middle School is located.
She told the Los Angeles Times she raced to the school, and then texted her 14-year-old son, Johnny Romero.
“Papa, are you OK, mijo?” she texted her younger son at 9:39 a.m.
Johnny texted his mother back and told her that the shooting happened inside a 7th-grade classroom.
“She shot a girl and a boy,” he texted.
“OMG,” Hernandez replied. “But why mijo?”
“I don’t know. Mom go home, I will tell you when we are not in lockdown,” Johnny answered.
“There are problems at this school,” Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times as she passed trash on an empty lot and gang graffiti on the walls.
“There’s bullying problems and gangsters are constantly trying to hurt students,” she said. “Just the other day, four gangsters were trying to beat up Johnny.”
“There’s a gate where people come in and go out without security knowing, there’s safety issues,” Hernandez added.
The suspect was booked on an initial charge of negligent discharge of a firearm, but the charges can be amended as the investigation continues.