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Student shoots self after firing at teacher

Image: School shooting
Parents and family members walk to the scene where children were taken after a shooting at Larose-Cut Off Middle School in Larose, La., on Monday.Bill Haber / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press


Louisiana middle-school student who stormed into a classroom Monday and fired a gunshot over a teacher's head, then shot himself in a bathroom had detailed plans for a rampage in a journal and suicide note, authorities said.

The 15-year-old student, whose name was not released, fired once around 9 a.m. inside a classroom at Larose-Cut Off Middle School, then shot himself in the head, said Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre. He was in critical but stable condition. The teacher had never taught the teen.

Webre said investigators found a note describing the boy's plans to "gear up" before his spree, along with a drawing of how he'd dress. Although he apparently was intent on killing people, he was armed with only four bullets for the .25-caliber, semiautomatic pistol he had taken from his father's home during the weekend. The boy's mother noticed he seemed nervous before school, but he said he was just worried about seeing his standardized test results, which were released Monday, Webre said.

About 500 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders attend the school in a rural community of about 7,000 people, some 45 miles southwest of New Orleans. Webre said the boy had no disciplinary problems at school and hadn't been in trouble with the law. The teen had no reason to be in the classroom, he said.

He was a year or two older than most of his classmates who described him as a quiet boy who never talked about guns or violence.

Webre said investigators found inside the boy's bookbag a completely filled journal and two loose sheets of paper that appeared to be a plan for the shooting and a suicide note. The school has both standing and handheld metal detectors, but they aren't used all the time and weren't in use Monday.

Webre said the boy arrived at the school in uniform — white shirt, khaki pants — but changed into camouflage pants shown in his drawing. In an expletive-laced note, he wrote, "First, I will tell my art class teacher that I had to go to the bathroom. Then I would go to the last stall and 'gear up.'"

Students stunned
Eighth-grader Dustin Sevin said the boy has been his friend for several years and that he never talked about guns or violence. At the end of second period, his friend said he needed to see the nurse and left with his backpack.

The teen apparently headed to another classroom, walked to the front of the room and pointed the pistol at the whiteboard, said sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Lesley Hill-Peters. He tried to fire at the board, but it wouldn't go off. He then stepped forward, pointed the gun at the teacher, raised it and fired a single shot over her head.

Coley Gaspard, 14, said he was in his seventh-grade English and reading class when the boy came in. The teen yelled for everyone to get down, cursing at the class.

Nobody moved. Gaspard knew the boy, whom he described as quiet and nice, and thought it was a dramatic enactment for some sort of lesson. Then, he said, the boy walked over and pointed the gun at the teacher, ordering her to say, "Hail Marilyn Manson," referring to the shock-rock icon, Gaspard said.

She said nothing. He fired into the wall and told another boy to get up. The seventh-grader stayed in his seat, and the teen left.

Hill-Peters, the spokeswoman, said she couldn't confirm Gaspard's account.

"After a situation like this you're going to have a lot of kids, a lot of parents, a lot of people saying a lot of stuff," she said.

The school was scheduled to reopen Tuesday with enhanced security and several counselors on hand.