A 12-year-old girl has been taken into custody after she allegedly opened fire inside a California school. Police seized a gun from the scene, but it was not immediately clear where she got the gun from.
The girl, whose name has not been revealed because of her age, has been charged with negligent discharge of a firearm that left five people injured, including two students who sustained gunshot wounds.
Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Josh Rubenstein said that the incident happened in a classroom at Salvador Castro Middle School in the Westlake district on Thursday (1 February) morning, Los Angeles Times reported.
However, Rubenstein added that the shooting was "not intentional". "At this time, the information suggests that this was an isolated incident, involving the negligent discharge of a firearm, where innocent children and a staff member were unfortunately injured," a statement from the department read.
Meanwhile, a grade seven student who witnessed the firing too told a reporter that the shooting was unintentional. "Someone decided to bring a gun, I guess someone was accidentally playing around with it," the 12-year-old identified as Benjamin said. "They thought it was a fake gun."
Local media reported that the gunfire erupted shortly after the opening bell, causing havoc inside the campus. A 15-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound on his head, while a girl, also 15, was shot in the wrist. Both were immediately taken to a hospital, where they are receiving treatment.
A trauma surgeon Dr Aaron Strumwasser was quoted as saying by Fox News that the boy was "extremely lucky" as "the trajectory of the bullet did not hit any vital structures that were an immediate threat to life". The girl is also doing well.
The other three who suffered injuries, aged 11, 12 and a 30-year-old female staffer, are also receiving treatment and are believed to recover soon, KTLA reported.
Meanwhile, the incident has left parents and residents in the area shocked as they are questioning campus safety. Over 360 students are enrolled in the middle school, where weapon checks are conducted regularly.
The incident happened days after two students were killed and 18 injured when a 15-year-old boy opened fire inside a Kentucky high school. Though the motive of the attack remains unclear, it was reported that the accused — a 15-year-old boy — might face two counts of murder and "numerous" counts of attempted murder.