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Texas teen charged with assault in Italy High School shooting

/ Source: Associated Press

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ITALY, Texas — A 15-year-old girl who was wounded in the Italy High School shooting is "in good spirits," and the 16-year-old boy suspected of opening fire in the cafeteria has been charged as a juvenile with aggravated assault, officials said Tuesday.

School District superintendent Lee Joffre told reporters outside Italy High School that he visited the girl at a Dallas hospital.

"It is an amazing demonstration of her strength that she was able to survive this," he said of the girl, who authorities have not identified. Joffre did not provide details about her condition.

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The teenage boy who was arrested not long after the shooting Monday morning at the school south of Dallas was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the Ellis County district attorney's office announced Tuesday.

A preliminary hearing in juvenile court is scheduled for Wednesday. He was being held at a juvenile detention center.

Police have not released the suspect's name and Italy police Chief Michael Taylor did not respond to a request for comment.

Cassie Shook, a 17-year-old junior at the school, earlier told The Associated Press that she was driving up to the cafeteria Monday when she saw "the doors fly open and everyone screaming and running out of the building." She said she was angry when she learned who the suspect was because she had complained about him at least twice to school officials, including to a vice principal.

"This could have been avoidable," she said. "There were so many signs."

Tina Haight, whose daughter attends the school, told KDFW-TV in Dallas that she had complained to school administrators after the same boy threw scissors at her daughter in anger.

Joffre said Tuesday that he couldn't comment on disciplinary actions involving students, but that the school district adheres to regulations established by the Texas Education Agency.

"I have confidence that our administration always addresses the Texas education code appropriately," he said.

Students are evacuated after a school shooting in Italy, Texas on Jan. 22. 2018.KXASnull

Shook said the girl who was shot had moved to the school district a few months earlier. She said the girl had briefly dated the suspect, but that she did not know much about her.

Ellis County sheriff's Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald said authorities would inquire about any dating history involving the two as part of the investigation.

Fitzgerald said officials know where the suspect obtained the handgun used in the shooting but he declined to publicly reveal that information.

Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched the school for weapons and explosive devices before students arrived Tuesday. Joffre said law enforcement officers would be on campus through the day.

"It was an extra assurance for us to be ready for our students today," he said.

Italy, a town of about 2,000 people that dubs itself "The Biggest Little Town In Texas," is about 40 miles south of Dallas.

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