LAPD still searching for owner of gun that went off in Westlake classroom

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A week after students were struck by gunfire at Sal Castro Middle School, Los Angeles police are still trying to determine where the gun came from.

The gunfire erupted in a classroom Feb. 1, with a single bullet striking a 15-year-old boy in the temple and a 15-year-old girl in the left wrist. The girl was discharged from the hospital over the weekend and the boy remains in fair condition. 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, said LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos.

“Since that first day, our biggest concern, and really our biggest connection to this case, is, ‘where did the gun come from?’ That is something that we haven’t been able to jar loose from anybody,” Arcos said. “Without her talking to us or another student coming forward — we’re kind of in limbo here.”

Last week, police said the evidence supported that the gun discharged from within a backpack, firing a single round.

“We really think that it was manipulated in the backpack and unintentionally discharged,” Arcos said. “She had to have been manipulating it in the backpack, moving it around or feeling it, who knows what was going through her mind at the time, but that’s how we believe it went off. Not a drop and all of a sudden it went off as a discharge.”

Although police initially said the gun was unregistered, Arcos said that the gun was registered and they’re trying to track down ownership on it. It is not a local ownership, he said.

“It wasn’t registered to anyone that comes back to her family,” he said.

The girl remains in custody, but is not talking, Arcos said. Police are still combing through accounts from students who knew her or heard about her and “different struggles she was having in her own life and her personal life.”


“That’s something we would love to talk to her about and hopefully it’ll help us get a better understanding of how this could have happened and how we can do something to prevent it in the future,” Arcos said.

Twitter: @Brittny_Mejia