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Tuesday's Gardena High School shooting appears to have been an accident. Witnesses say the student did not touch the gun when it suddenly went off. According to reports, the gun was inside a backpack that went off when he dropped it on his desk. Two students were apparently hit by the same bullet, with one in critical condition at Los Angeles County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
"He said, 'I'm sorry,' when the gun went off. It made it appear to the teacher that it was an accident," John Deasy, deputy superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District said, The Huffington Post reports.
After the shooting, the school campus was locked down. It was initially reported that a shooter was at large, causing a frenzy. In fact, the student first ran out of the classroom, and then later surrendered to police in a dramatic standoff, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Even if it was an accident, it is illegal to have a gun on campus. However, according to a friend of the shooter, he had brought a gun to school before. Andrea Tibbs, friend of the alleged shooter, said he brought the gun for protection after a fight that made him fear for his safety, The Times reports. Students at Gardena High School are checked with security wands on a random basis at Gardena High.
Assuming that the gun did go off accidently, the incident is reminiscent of the Jason Williams shooting. In that case, according to prosecutors, the former NBA player recklessly shot his chauffer. However, according to Williams and witnesses, he never had his finger on the trigger. Williams faced a number of serious charges stemming from the shooting and alleged cover up. He was eventually convicted of reckless manslaughter.
The student who allegedly brought the gun to Gardena High School is likely to face similar charges, as well as charges for bringing the gun to school. While the penalty for an accidental shooting is less severe than an intentional shooting, it is a very serious crime nevertheless.
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