Long Beach Boys Held in Team Bus Shooting

Times Staff Writer

Three Long Beach youths have been arrested on suspicion of firing a BB gun at a bus carrying a Huntington Beach high school basketball team home from a game last week, police said Tuesday.

The boys--two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old--were arrested Monday at St. Anthony High School in Long Beach and later released to the custody of their parents, Sgt. Michael Monte of the Long Beach Police Department said.

Police did not identify the suspects because of their ages. Each was charged with shooting at an occupied vehicle.

The bus carrying the Edison High School boys' basketball team was hit several times by gunfire Thursday as it returned from a Southern Section 5-A playoff game at St. Anthony, police said. Nobody was injured.

Passenger Fired Shots

The bus was on 7th Street in Long Beach headed toward the San Diego Freeway when a compact car pulled alongside the driver's side of the bus and a passenger began firing, police said. The car then sped off, and the bus continued to Huntington Beach.

The shooting was the first of three involving an Orange County school bus in the last week, officials said.

The suspects in Thursday's shooting are 11th-graders at St. Anthony but are not members of the basketball team, which had lost the game to Edison, 69-62, police said.

"(The shooting) was just over the basketball game. They weren't happy their team lost," Long Beach Detective Bruce Klemme said.

Authorities originally believed that a pellet gun had been fired at the bus, but the suspects admitted using a BB gun to fire four or five shots through the window and the side of the bus, Klemme said.

The boys were arrested about 4 p.m. Monday after a closed-door meeting in their principal's office.

"The principal at St. Anthony received an anonymous tip, and she investigated from that end," Klemme said.

Police said the case was being prepared for the district attorney's office. No one else is believed to have been involved in the shooting, police said.

If they were adults, the three suspects could face 6 to 12 months in jail or two, three or four years in state prison, Monte said.

In an unrelated incident in Buena Park Monday, a window of a Fullerton High School bus was shattered by a BB gun pellet, but none of the 78 passengers were injured, police said.

Police said they have no suspects.

Fourth Window Shattered

The bus was traveling westbound on Melrose Street near Western Avenue at 3:27 p.m. when the fourth window on the right side was shattered by the pellet, Buena Park Police Officer Rich McMillen said.

The shot apparently came from the direction of a nearby flood-control channel just north of the bus, he said.

Police searched the area but found no gun or suspect, he said.

And in a third incident, gunfire apparently cracked the windshield of an Anaheim school bus carrying the Kennedy High School girls' basketball team from a playoff game in West Covina Saturday night, police said.

The bus was southbound on the San Gabriel River Freeway in the Whittier area when a brown pickup truck passed the bus at high speed. None of the 22 passengers on the bus were injured.

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