12-year-old girl faces felony counts in school shooting

Image 1 of 4

 A 12-year-old girl accused of bringing a gun to Salvador Castro Middle School, where it went off accidentally and wounded two students, appeared in juvenile court Monday but did not enter a plea, according to a broadcast report.

The girl, who has not been identified because of her age, faces felony charges of being a minor in possession of a firearm and having a weapon on school grounds.

The girl appeared as scheduled but was not arraigned.

Spokeswomen for both the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and Los Angeles Superior Court said they could not confirm that information to City News Service, and provided no additional information on the case, including which courtroom is handling the matter, given the girl's juvenile status.

"Our hands are tied,'' said Shiara Davila-Morales of the D.A.'s media relations team.

A KNX report said a plea would be entered at a later date.

Police announced Friday that investigators have determined the semiautomatic handgun discharged while it was inside a backpack Thursday morning, and the shooting appeared to be accidental.

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the head and a 15-year-old girl was struck in the right wrist. Speaking Friday morning on KNX, Mayor Eric Garcetti said a single bullet apparently went through the girl's wrist and struck the boy near one of his temples before lodging in his neck.

Dr. Aaron Strumwasser, who treated both teens at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, said the boy was ``extremely lucky'' to survive.

"The trajectory of the bullet did not hit any vital structures that were an immediate threat to life,'' Strumwasser said. ``So I think he will do fine.''

Strumwasser said both teens are expected to make full recoveries.

The shooting occurred around 9 a.m. Thursday in a classroom at the school in the 1500 block of West Second Street in the Westlake district, police said. Castro Middle School and Belmont High School share a campus, and a lockdown was ordered for both.

The LAPD said in a statement that the shooting appeared to be ``an isolated incident, involving the negligent discharge of a firearm, where innocent children and a staff member were unfortunately injured.''

Three other people suffered minor abrasions, although they were not hit by gunfire -- an 11-year-old boy, a 12-year-old girl and a 30-year-old woman.

An investigation has been underway to determine how the girl got the gun. Garcetti said on KNX that the girl's parents are believed to be separated, and her father has allegedly denied that he owns the weapon.

Garcetti said a ``strong message has to be sent out to other students'' about the danger of guns and bringing them to campus, but he also said the girl in custody should be provided with counseling and emotional support.

"We have to be sure to take care of this girl,'' he said.

Copyright 2018 FOX 11 Los AngelesDownload our mobile app for breaking news alerts or to watch FOX 11 News | Follow us on FacebookTwitter , Instagram and YouTube.