Student wounded in Westlake school shooting still has a bullet lodged in his head, his former teacher says


A boy who was wounded in a shooting at Sal Castro Middle School nearly two weeks ago has been released from a hospital but still has a bullet in his head, his former teacher said.

A bullet struck 12-year-old Issa Al-Bayati in his skull, but didn’t hit any vital organs, said Bridgette Robinson, who instructed Al-Bayati in English, science and English language development at the school last year. The teacher said he will require additional treatment.

Robinson, 31, said she was “horrified and saddened” when she learned her former student was wounded in the gunfire.


The shooting erupted in a classroom Feb. 1, with a single bullet striking the boy in the temple and a girl in the left wrist. Both students were discharged from a hospital as of last week, according to a Los Angeles County health department spokesman. Two other students and a teacher suffered minor injuries.

A 12-year-old girl was taken into custody and a semiautomatic pistol was recovered at the scene. Prosecutors charged the girl with one felony count of being a minor in possession of a firearm and a second felony count of having a weapon on school grounds.

The girl’s family has been cooperative and denies any responsibility or knowledge of the gun, police said. The district attorney’s office would not provide any details about the status of the case, citing juvenile privacy laws.

Robinson, who has set up a GoFundMe page to help Al-Bayati and his family, described him as a hard worker who “wanted to do his best.”

In an email to staff Tuesday morning, Sal Castro Middle School Principal Erick Mitchell thanked Robinson “for her push to help the family.”

Al-Bayati came to the United States four years ago after fleeing violence in his home country of Iraq, where his father was killed, Robinson said.


“His mother, alone with two young boys to raise, applied for refugee status and was able to immigrate to the U.S.,” she said. “And he was shot in the head in an American classroom.”

She said the boy suffers from frequent bouts of dizziness, impaired vision, problems walking, and pain and numbness in his face.

“He will need ongoing counseling to deal with the trauma he has experienced, as will his mother and younger brother,” Robinson wrote on her GoFundMe page. “No child should ever have to experience the type of loss and violence that Issa has experienced in his short life.”

Times staff writers Joy Resmovits and Sonali Kohli contributed to this report.

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