Student arrested in Gardena shooting
School did not comply with security policy
GARDENA, Calif.—Two more teens from Gardena High School were arrested for allegedly helping a classmate who brought a gun to school that discharged and injured two students, including one who was shot in the head, police said.
An official with Los Angeles School Police confirmed that two more arrests were made in the aftermath of the shooting, but they would not provide details.
Meanwhile, the 15-year-old girl who was shot in the head when the gun—which was hidden inside a student’s backpack and apparently fired when he placed it on a classroom table—woke up Wednesday and showed signs of improvement. She remained in critical condition.
“She does respond to commands or directions and is able to move both sides of the body, but one better than the other right now,” Dr. Gail Anderson told reporters outside Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. “The left side seems to be much better than the right at this point. Again, we don’t know, it’s too early to tell what sort of results we’re going to have over the next few hours, the next few days.”
Dr. James Ausman of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center said the bullet entered and exited the left side of the female student’s head. He said the bullet did not go through her skull, but “caused a skull fracture, and what we call some bruising or contusion of the underlying brain on the left side . . . That lead to a fairly significant blood clot on the left side of her brain,” Ausman said.
“She was taken to surgery within less than 30 minutes of the time she arrived here. The blood clot was removed very quickly. The bone was left out because after there’s an injury to the brain, the brain swells usually within 48 hours, and this provides room for the brain to expand.”
Ausman said a brain scan conducted after surgery showed that “everything at this point, at least radiologically, looks good.”
A 15-year-old boy who was shot in the neck was listed in good condition. The bullet struck the boy first, and then hit the girl in the side of the head, doctors said.
The shooting occurred around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday inside a classroom at the 2,400-student campus. The 17-year-old boy accused of bringing the gun to school ran from the room, after the gun went off, prompting a lockdown of the school and a massive police search, authorities said. He was eventually found in another classroom and arrested.
His name has not been released.
Although school police would not comment on the arrest of the other two teens, sources told reporters they allegedly helped the 17-year-old boy hide after the shooting.
Security was extra tight at the school Wednesday morning, with arriving students being subjected to searches and metal detectors. Grief counselors were also on hand.
Los Angeles Unified School District Deputy Superintendent John Deasy, speaking Wednesday morning outside the school, said random searches for weapons were supposed to be done daily, but apparently no searches were conducted Tuesday morning.
Deasy acknowledged that the school was not complying with the weapons search on a regular basis. He has ordered Gardena High School and all of LAUSD high schools to comply with the policy.
“I am also assessing all high schools in the district to make sure daily random search policy is followed on every campus,” Deasy said, adding that the student who brought the gun to school would be expelled, per district policy.
Gardena High School senior Miguel Lopez, 17, said he was in the health class when the gun went off as a male classmate was reaching into his backpack. He said the student, who he did not know, was not pointing the gun at anyone.
Lopez said two students sitting next to him near the back of the classroom were shot. The girl was shot in the temple, he said.
“She kind of was crying,” Lopez told reporters. “She fell back into her chair and fell on the floor.”
The student with the gun ran out of the classroom, and the teacher began screaming, Lopez said.
Other students claimed the suspect carried the gun for protection.
City News Service contributed to this article.
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The campus was placed on lockdown after the shooting, which occurred around 10:40 a.m. at the school at 1301 W. 182nd St.
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