By Sky News
A 12-year-old girl has been taken into custody after a handgun she allegedly took into a Los Angeles school inside a backpack went off and injured two students.
Television footage has shown police leading a girl away from the school in Los Angeles after they were called to reports of gunshots in a classroom shortly before 9am.
The boy was taken to hospital and is said to be in a critical but stable condition. A 15-year-old girl was also reportedly shot in the wrist and several others were hit by broken glass.
Police recovered a gun from the scene.
(Learn More. There are new questions tied to a shooting at a middle school in Los Angeles in which four students and a staff member were injured. A 12-year-old girl was taken into custody, but now police are calling it an accident. Courtesy of NBC News, TODAY and YouTube. Posted on Feb 2, 2018)
A pupil at the school told Associated Press news agency that his 12-year-old classmate said the shooting was an accident.
He said the girl told him: “I didn’t mean to. I had the gun in my backpack and I didn’t know it was loaded and my backpack fell and the gun went off.”
The girl was taken into custody minutes after the shooting.
Police have interviewed the 12-year-old and agreed the shooting was an accident, Associated Press reported.
She has been booked into a juvenile hall on suspicion of negligently discharging a firearm on school grounds.
It was unclear where she got the semi-automatic handgun from or why she brought it into the school.
Three other people, ranging in age from 11 to 30, were treated for minor cuts and scrapes after the shooting.
Doctors have said the boy shot in the head was “extremely lucky”.
Dr Aaron Strumwasser, at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, said: “I think he will do fine… I anticipate he’ll make a full recovery.”
Los Angeles police kept parents updated on Twitter and in a meeting outside the school, telling them if they had not heard from their child they should assume they were safe and well.
Steve Zipperman, chief of the Los Angeles Unified School District police force, said: “We will attend to the needs of these students who witnessed this very carefully, with the understanding this is very traumatic.
“We have our school mental health folks that are here to support the needs of the students.”
The district has a policy which states random searches should be carried out daily with a metal detector wand.
It is not yet clear if one of those had happened yet on Thursday.
Interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian of the LA Unified School District, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were hurt in today’s shooting incident at Sal Castro Middle School and with all the students, families and employees on the campus.”
The school shares a campus with Belmont High School.