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Gardena High shooting suspect stole gun from his stepfather, source says

January 19, 2011 |  7:30 pm

The 17-year-old student who took a loaded gun to Gardena High School in his backpack and then ran when it accidentally discharged, reportedly stole the weapon from his stepfather, according to a source.

A single round from the 9-millimeter Beretta tore through a 15-year-old boy’s neck and struck a girl in the skull. She remains in critical condition. The boy was discharged from the hospital.

A source familiar with the investigation said that in the chaos after the mid-morning shooting Tuesday, the suspect gave his backpack to a girl and that another boy provided him with a sweatshirt to change his appearance.

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

The 17-year-old, along with the two students who allegedly helped him, is expected to appear Friday in Juvenile Court. Police said he’s likely to be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The student, according to the source, is on probation for a misdemeanor battery conviction.

As students returned to campus Wednesday, they were forced to stand in a slow-moving line that stretched down the sidewalk, while staff members scanned them with metal-detecting wands and searched backpacks and purses for weapons.

Despite the weapons search, some parents were wary of promises of change and doubted that enforcement would be long-term.

“I bet you after two weeks it’s going to go back to how it was,” said Gabriela Alvizo, whose 11th-grade daughter was shaken up after Tuesday’s incident.

Albert Partida was not overly concerned about safety at the school. What did disturb him was hearing fellow parents say their children had friends who took guns to school for protection.

“If my son came to me and told me this guy had a gun, I would go and tell the school,” said Partida, whose son is in the 10th grade. “So how are you supposed to prevent this? If you see something, tell someone, don’t just complain about it.”

RELATED:

Gardena High School violated district's weapons-check policy

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

-- Andrew Blankstein

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