CHICAGO — A high school student passed a handgun to a classmate inside a Chicago classroom Tuesday when it accidentally discharged, striking both in the leg, police said.
The two teens were taken to hospital in “critical/serious” condition, the Chicago Fire Department said. Police initially said the students were in good condition.
The boys were sitting in the back of a science classroom at the Chicago Vocational Career Academy on the city’s South Side around 2:15 p.m. when one boy passed it to the other and the gun discharged, said Robert Lopez, an assistant deputy police superintendent.
One was struck in the thigh and the other near the knee, Lopez said.
The teen who brought the 9 mm pistol to school panicked, ran outside the building and dumped the gun near the front of the building, Lopez said.
A police officer assigned to the school confronted the student as he re-entered, and the student led him to the gun, police said.
Police had earlier said the student had shot a classmate in the leg, with the bullet apparently ricocheting and wounding the shooter.
There was also conflicting ages for the boys. Lopez said they were both 15. But police and school reports listed the boy who brought the gun to school as 15 and the other as 14.
Teen didn't go through metal detector
While the school has metal detectors, students are chosen at random to go through them because it would take too long to scan each teen, Lopez said. The teen who brought the gun did not go through the device, he said.
Chicago Public Schools spokesman Michael Vaughn said all students are required to pass through metal detectors.
“How the weapon got into the building obviously is a main concern for us,” Vaughn said, adding that additional security measures would be used to help screen students.
School officials planned to interview the students involved and review footage from the school’s surveillance camera system, he said.
Lopez said there would be charges against the teen who brought the gun to school, but he had no details.
School officials could not immediately provide any information.
It was the second shooting in less than a month at the school, which has about 2,000 students in grades 9-12. On March 22, two students standing in the parking lot were wounded after a car pulled up and someone inside opened fire, Bond said.
Those students recovered, but no arrests were made, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.
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