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Long Beach school safety officer shoots, critically injures 18-year-old

Shooting involving Long Beach school safety officer

An 18-year-old woman was in critical condition Tuesday, one day after a Long Beach Unified School District safety officer opened fire while investigating an altercation near Millikan High School, officials said.

Police were called to Spring Street and Palo Verde Avenue around 3:12 p.m. Monday, Long Beach Police Officer Brandon Fahey said.

When they arrived, they found the woman suffering from a gunshot wound in her upper body. Paramedics transported her to a nearby hospital.

In a statement, the school district confirmed that one of its officers discharged a weapon during the “off-campus incident,” which occurred about a block from the school.

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“The school safety officer approached a group of individuals to investigate an altercation, and during the course of that investigation, the school safety officer discharged their duty weapon and an individual was struck by gunfire,” school officials said.

Police later determined that the safety officer was driving in the area when he saw the woman engaged in a physical fight with a 15-year-old girl. Detectives believe the two knew each other and the woman initiated the assault.

The woman attempted to flee in a gray sedan with two other people, identified only as males, 16 and 18, who are also believed to have been involved in the dispute.

Video on social media showed the sedan exiting a parking lot, nearly clipping the safety officer, who fired as the car sped away. The woman was sitting in the front passenger seat when she was struck, according to Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Arantxa Chavarria.

Long Beach Unified School District spokesman Chris Eftychiou confirmed that it is standard practice for safety officers to carry firearms.

“This incident has greatly impacted our school district community, and we are collectively holding the shooting victim in our thoughts,” district Supt. Jill Baker said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“Our school safety officers are hired to protect the physical safety of our staff and students on and around campuses. They are highly trained and held accountable to the established standards in their profession. Those standards will be used to assess the incident that occurred yesterday,” she said.

A police investigation is ongoing, Chavarria said, and police will be providing additional resources to the area around the school, including increased patrols during drop-off and pick-up times.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office will also be investigating.

There is no indication that any students were injured, district officials said. The school day ends around 2:40 p.m., according to the Millikan High School website.

Additional staff were at Millikan High School on Tuesday to support students.

Times staff writer James Queally and audience engagement editor Seth Liss contributed to this report.


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