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Two students shot at Texas middle school; hunters suspected

December 12, 2011 |  7:25 pm

Two students were wounded by gunfire Monday afternoon while playing basketball at a south Texas middle school, and authorities were investigating whether local hunters were responsible.

Two boys at Harwell Middle School, ages 13 and 14, were shot while playing outside the school near Edinburg, a college town about 20 miles north of the Mexican border, according to officials who spoke with The Times and statements that Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino made to the Associated Press.

School was not in session at the time of the shooting, but the building was immediately placed on lockdown, sheriff's officials said.

Sheriff's officials said several people had been detained in connection with the shooting, but they declined to identify the individuals or to say if any arrests had been made.

Trevino could not be reached for comment late Monday.

Both students were in the hospital late Monday, their conditions unknown, sheriff's officials told The Times.

Earlier in the day, Trevino said one was in critical condition with a bullet embedded in an organ, while the other was stable and awaiting X-rays.

Trevino told the Associated Press that sheriff's investigators think the shots were not fired on campus or from a drive-by, but rather from hunters on nearby farm property that had been leased for deer hunting.

Hidalgo County is among the state's and the nation's poorest, with many residents living below the poverty line.

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--Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston

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