Frightened students describe gunfire at L.A. middle school


Benjamin was in the back of his science class at Sal Castro Middle School on Thursday morning when he heard a pop at the front of the room, he said.

“There was like a loud pop, it was louder than a balloon,” said Benjamin, 12, a seventh-grade student. The Times is not giving his full name to protect his privacy. His aunt agreed to have him talk to the newspaper.

For the record:

6:05 p.m. Feb. 1, 2018A previous version of this post misstated Benjamin’s age. He is 12.

Benjamin said he didn’t see the gun in full, but saw part of it while students were playing with it.


“Someone decided to bring a gun, I guess someone was accidentally playing around with it,” he said. It “was an accident, they thought it was a fake gun.”

When the shot occurred, an adult called for help. Once police came, Benjamin and the other students went to auditorium, he said.

A 12-year-old girl was in police custody after the shooting, which injured four students. The gunfire erupted at the school in the Westlake neighborhood shortly after the opening bell and caused numerous students to run from the area.

Arianna, 14, was in her English class in the same building as the shooting.

No one in her class heard the shooting, she said.

“We had no idea what was happening until someone from the office came into our room ... saying, ‘We’re on lockdown,’” said Arianna, an eighth-grade student whose mother asked that she be identified by only her first name for privacy. “Our teacher immediately turned off the lights and we went all the way to the wall,” she said.

They weren’t allowed to leave the classroom, and lunch was brought in.

“I just feel a little sad because a boy got shot in the head,” she said.

Arianna said she’s seen Snapchat and Instagram posts in the past, bullying the girl believed to have brought the gun, calling her ugly or weird.