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Student declared brain dead after shooting

February 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Classes were back in session at E.O. Green Junior High School after an 8th grade student was shot by another student on Tuesday.The 15-year-old victim was declared brain dead by two neurosurgeons and is clinically dead, according to the medical examiner. He remains on a ventilator for possible organ donation at this time.

There was quite a bit of apprehension as parents and students returned to E.O. Green Junior High Wednesday morning. Police and counselors were on hand all throughout the day to help the kids deal with what happened Tuesday.

Unanswered questions still echoed through the campus about the shooting.

"Could we have prevented this or was this one of those unfortunate things where all of the preparations in the world can't stop you from a crazy person," said Joel Lovstedt, E.O. Green Junior High School Principal.

Principal Lovstedt says that school officials are still analyzing the districts policies and the conditions that led up to the killing.

The victim, 15-year-old Lawrence King, was identified by Oxnard police Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators have not released a motive for the shooting. Lovstedt says that King was often the subject of teasing. He had been targeted by bullies in the past. Students say the victim was often picked on for the way he dressed.

"He had met with counselors before and we've met with classmates about picking on people. We've been doing what we can about bullying," said Lovstedt.

Investigators have not yet released the name of the shooter. They say that he is a 14-year-old 8th-grader that may have had a personal feud with King.

Police have interviewed more than 100 people so far. As they continue to piece together the motive behind the shooting, school officials say that their goal is to make the kids and parents feels safe again.

"Sometimes it just makes me not want to come to school anymore. Yesterday kind of freaked me out. Last night I was talking to my mom and I just broke down in tears. I didn't feel very comfortable," said Sarah Kurpiewski, student.

The shooting left a lot of the students shaken. "I am kind of scared, but I know that I'll be safe here," said Tanya Carrillo, student.

"I'm scared and nervous 'cause it might happen or he might come back," said student Michelle Nguyen.

The Oxnard junior high was placed on lockdown for several hours while authorities tried to ensure that everything was safe.

The 14-year-old suspect fled the school right after the shots were fired. He was arrested a short time later by police in a nearby neighborhood. Authorities say the suspect is not a gang member.

Kids have mixed feelings following the shooting and so do many of their parents.

"It was pretty frightening," said Rachel Moraga, the mother of a student.

"It never happens twice, it never happens two days in a row that's for sure," said Erica Hernandez, a mother of a student.

The teen was rushed to St. John's Regional Medical Center in critical condition after being shot in the head by a 14-year-old classmate during a first period English class.

The violence has school officials taking a closer look at what if anything they could have done to prevent this tragedy.

"When a crisis occurs you basically have to act and get the danger out of the way and keep the kids safe, that part of the plan worked," said Principal Lovstedt. "The next part that we need to look at for the future obviously is prevention."

School officials say it's normally pretty quiet and they don't have a lot of problems. In the wake of Tuesday's shooting, they are reevaluating all their security members.

E.O. Green Junior High School is in the Hueneme School District.

Eyewitness News reporters Rob Hayes and John Gregory contributed to this report.

 

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