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LA school bolsters security after shooting

Associated Press / January 20, 2011

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LOS ANGELES — Security officers wielding metal detecting wands meticulously searched backpacks and students yesterday in a long line outside a Los Angeles high school where two 15-year-olds were shot in a classroom a day before.

The stepped-up security measures come after a 9mm semiautomatic handgun being carried in a backpack by a 10th-grader discharged Tuesday when he put the bag down on a desk at Gardena High School, authorities said.

A bullet pierced a boy’s neck, exited, and hit a girl in the head. The boy was doing well yesterday, but the girl remained listed in serious condition with a skull fracture.

The girl regained consciousness and could move her body yesterday morning after surgery to remove a blood clot from her brain caused by the bullet’s impact, said Julie Rees, spokeswoman for Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.

The 17-year-old suspect, who was already on probation for a fight at school, was arrested. Police said yesterday that two other students were also taken into custody for investigation of concealing evidence. A boy is accused of trading clothes with the fleeing suspect, and a girl allegedly took the suspect’s backpack, Detective A. Batris said.

Since 1993, Los Angeles Unified School District has required some campuses to randomly check students with hand-held metal-detectors every day at different times.

There was no check on Tuesday, and possibly not on other days as well, said Deputy Superintendent John Deasy.

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