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Student shot and wounded outside Santee High in South L.A. after school lets out

High school students in South Los Angeles leave school as police respond to a shooting.
Students in South L.A. leave high school as police respond to a shooting Thursday. A male student, 16, who was struck in his left leg outside the football field of Santee Education Complex is being treated at a hospital, L.A. School Police said.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

A 16-year-old male student was shot and wounded after school outside the football field of Santee Education Complex, a high school south of downtown Los Angeles, school police said.

Some students fled when shots rang out, leaving behind backpacks and other belongings; others immediately tried to aid the student, said Sgt. Rudy Perez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles School Police.

The injured student is in stable condition at a local hospital after a gunshot wound to his upper left leg, Perez said.

Soon after, a second person was grazed by a bullet in front of a nearby primary center campus. But it was not immediately clear if there was any connection between the shootings, police said.

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The first shooting happened soon after school ended at 1:45 p.m. on an early dismissal day. School police were alerted by Los Angeles police at 1:55 p.m. that shots had been fired near the school. The LAPD officers were farther away from the campus than school police, Perez said.

A nearby school police officer in a patrol car responded — part of a “safe passages” program to keep students more secure on their way to and from campus, Perez said.

The student was struck while on the sidewalk outside the football field. Numerous students were in the area at the time. Two football games, a junior varsity and varsity contest, were scheduled for later today, starting at 5 p.m., and it is common for students to gather near the football field beforehand, he said.

A preliminary investigation suggests the shooter might have been in a sedan that was driving by, police said.

The officer at the scene applied a tourniquet to reduce the bleeding from the single gunshot wound. Fire department personnel soon arrived to take over medical treatment. Los Angeles police also arrived within five to 10 minutes, Perez said.

In previous years, a school police officer would have been assigned full time to Santee — each high school had its own officer. The school board last year approved steep reductions to the police budget and ordered officers to be removed from campus.

Officers on campus have been replaced by school climate coaches. The Santee climate coach may have been one of the first to report the shooting, Perez said.

Santee has an enrollment of about 1,700 students in grades nine through 12; 98% are from low-income families; 21% are learning English. Also on-site is the Frida Kahlo Continuation High School.

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In a recent school climate survey, 63% of Santee students said they feel safe at school, slightly higher than the district average for high school, according to information collected by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The second shooting in the area occurred about 25 minutes later in front of Maple Primary Center, which serves kindergarten and first-grade students. A male adult was grazed in the back by a bullet.

Perez said the wounded man does not appear to have a connection to the school.

The Primary Center is about a mile south of the high school on Maple Avenue.

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Perez said he did not have information about whether the two shootings might be connected.

The varsity football game, with Belmont High School, was moved to the Roybal Learning Center, just west of downtown.

Both schools were placed on lockdown — for about an hour — until officers determined there was not an ongoing threat to students or staff.


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