4 students hit by gunfire at Los Angeles school; 12-year-old girl in custody

Four students were hit by gunfire Thursday morning in a classroom at Sal Castro Middle School in Los Angeles, and a 12-year-old female student is in custody as a suspect, officials said.

One boy was shot in the head and a girl was shot in the wrist at the school, which shares a campus with a high school, Los Angeles fire Capt. Eric Scott said.

The boy was “extremely lucky” in that the bullet missed vital structures, said Dr. Aaron Strumwasser, a trauma surgeon at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center. The doctor said he expects the boy to recover.

The two other students were grazed by bullets, treated at a hospital and released, he said.

“They did not sustain anything significant,” he said.

All were listed Thursday afternoon in stable condition.

A woman was treated for a minor injury, Scott said earlier.

The shooting was reported to Los Angeles police at 8:55 a.m. Police found and confiscated a gun at the scene, Los Angeles police Lt. Chris Ramirez said Thursday morning. At a second news conference, Ramirez said the weapon was a semiautomatic.

Police didn’t say what led to the shooting, and little information was immediately released about the girl who was detained. Zipperman said she was 12. She is being interviewed, the chief said later.

The shooting happened in an elective class with students from different grades, he said.

A woman who has two sons at the school called her 12-year-old when she heard about the shooting. She told CNN affiliate KABC that she was relieved when he picked up, but he was in tears. She said he was in the classroom right next door to the shooting. The son told her officials had them stay in the classroom and he was worried.

“He’s not doing good,” she told KABC.

She had been unable to reach her other son, who was in physical education class.

No known motive

The motive for the shooting is under investigation, Ramirez said. Ramirez and Los Angeles police spokesman Drake Madison both said the girl in custody is a suspect.

Aerial video from CNN affiliates showed police appearing to search students outside the building.

The school day will continue, and students will have the chance to talk to counselors about the shooting, said Vivian Ekchian, interim superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“The school has been declared safe, and we are communicating with parents of students at Castro Middle School, as well as neighboring campuses,” she added.

There will be classes on Friday, she said at the second news conference.

Sal Castro Middle School is in the city’s Westlake district, roughly a couple of miles northwest of downtown.

Third school shooting in recent weeks

This is at least the third US school shooting in recent weeks.

On January 23, a student is accused of shooting 16 people — killing two — at western Kentucky’s Marshall County High School in Benton.

The day before, a 15-year-old student was injured in a shooting in the Texas city of Italy. A suspect, a 16-year-old male, was “apprehended within minutes,” city officials said.