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Boy Accused of Attempted Murder in Pal’s Shooting

Times Staff Writer

A 13-year-old Canoga Park boy, who Los Angeles police say shot a classmate in the neck during a game of Russian roulette last week, was charged Thursday with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.

The suspect, whose name was not released because of his age, is expected to be arraigned on the charges today at Sylmar Juvenile Hall, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jerry Bowes said.

Dwayne McKee, 14, of Woodland Hills, whose spinal cord was severed in the shooting last Friday, was moved Thursday from the intensive care ward to the rehabilitation unit at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

Paralyzed From Neck Down

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Doctors say McKee will be permanently paralyzed from the neck down, his parents reported. On the advice of hospital psychologists, however, the boy has not yet been told the extent of his injuries, they said.

The shooting occurred at the Canoga Park home of the 13-year-old youth, who was arrested Tuesday. Police said the boy went into his parents’ bedroom, found his father’s .38-caliber revolver, loaded it with one bullet and spun the barrel. He then pulled the trigger with the gun pointed at his own head, but it did not fire, police said.

As McKee protested, police said, the suspect then pointed the gun at him and fired once, striking him in the right side of the neck. The bullet exited through McKee’s left rear shoulder, police said.

Boys Were ‘Best of Friends’

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“It’s a real tragedy because they were the best of friends,” said Catholine Chihara, a choral teacher at George Ellery Hale Junior High School in Woodland Hills, where both boys are in the eighth grade and sang bass in the choir. “They were always together.”

Chihara said at the school Thursday that, “The girls are crying. They’re taking it very hard.”

Chihara described McKee as a likable, popular boy, and the arrested youth as “a very sensitive, sincere, nice boy” with a beautiful voice. Both were scheduled to appear in an upcoming concert, and the arrested boy had been scheduled to sing a solo at the school’s graduation ceremony, she said.

Classmates Sent Songs

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The school’s chorale class Thursday recorded several songs on a cassette tape and delegated several students to deliver it to McKee at the hospital to cheer him up, Chihara said.

McKee’s mother, La Vonne McKee, described her son as a “good-natured boy who “makes friends no matter where he goes.” A sports enthusiast, he loves soccer, wrestling, football, baseball and basketball, but plans to become a doctor, said his father, Mark McKee, an appliance repairman.

On the advice of an attorney, the family refused to discuss the boy who was arrested or the circumstances of the shooting.


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