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Gardena High School student charged with two felonies in school shooting

January 20, 2011 |  1:32 pm

A 17-year-old Gardena High School student suspected of carrying a handgun that discharged on campus, striking one student and critically wounding another, was charged Thursday with two felonies: possessing a firearm in a school zone and discharging a firearm in a school zone.

The suspect, whose name is being withheld because of his age, was on probation for a misdemeanor battery charge, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Joanne Baeza. Prosecutors have filed a motion to have the minor tried as an adult. 

On Tuesday, the teenager allegedly carried a loaded 9-millimeter Beretta in his backpack to school. He then reached inside the backpack to get something to eat, and the gun discharged a single round in a classroom about 10:40 a.m, authorities said.

The bullet struck a 15-year-old boy in the neck before hitting a 15-year-old girl in the side of the head, officials said.

The girl remained in critical condition at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center with a skull fracture and brain trauma. A spokeswoman for the hospital said she has been able to respond to basic commands.

The male victim was released from the hospital late Wednesday.

The suspect is due to appear in a Long Beach juvenile court Friday. A source familiar with the inquiry said the student reportedly stole the gun from his stepfather.

Two other students have been arrested in relation to the shooting. Authorities believe that in the chaos afterward the suspect gave his backpack to a girl and that another boy provided him with a sweatshirt to change his appearance.

One of those suspects also allegedly gave him money for bus fare to flee the area. Police said the backpack has not been located.

RELATED:

Gardena High shooting suspect stole gun from his stepfather

Student who brought gun to Gardena High School won't be charged with attempted murder

Classmates gave clothing, bus fare to student so he could elude police after Gardena shooting

-- Richard Winton

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