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UPDATED: Suspect in Custody After 2 Students Shot at California High School

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 2:34pm


Gardena High School Shooting.jpg
FOX News

DEVELOPING: Authorities have one person in custody after a gunman shot two students Tuesday morning at a high school in Los Angeles, law enforcement officials said.

Police said three people were shot Tuesday morning at Gardena High School, about 15 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.

Gardena police Lt. Steve Prendergast said the alleged gunman -- a black male wearing black clothing -- is believed to be a student.

Prendergast said the victims have been treated by paramedics and transported to a hospital. Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Jamie Moore said two victims were transported to a hospital, one in serious condition and one in critical condition.

Prendergast said a teacher called 911 at 10:41 a.m. local time and police from the city of Gardena initially responded. The school is actually located in the city of Los Angeles and the incident is being turned over to Los Angeles police.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Unified School District reportedly told local news outlets that the shooting was accidental. District spokesman Robert Alaniz said the gun was brought to school in a backpack and went off when the student dropped it -- injuring the victims with a single bullet. Alaniz also said that only two students were injured, which conflicts with law enforcement reports of three victims.

Law enforcement officials, however, say they are skeptical of that account and say the shooting is currently under investigation.

A handful of frantic parents rushed to the school after hearing about the shooting on the news. They paced nervously as they waited behind police tapes for word from their children.

"I've never heard of anything like this before," said Thomas Hill, whose 16-year-old and 18-year-old children attend the school. "You're going to have confrontations between kids but never this."

Armando Perez, whose 15-year-old son Richard, was in the school, said: "I just want to know what's going on."

A mother who was waiting to hear from her 14-year-old son, Michael, said the school has a reputation for gang violence. Lupe Contreras said she has been trying to get her son out of the school.

Gardena High School has close to 3,100 students.