Boy close to death after Calif. school shooting

OXNARD, California -- A brain dead 15-year-old boy was on a ventilator Thursday for possible organ donation, and a classmate suspected of shooting him in the head was under arrest on investigation of attempted murder, authorities in California said.

Eighth-grader Lawrence King was shot Tuesday during a class at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, police said.

He was pronounced brain dead Wednesday at St. John's Regional Medical Center after examination by two neurosurgeons, Ventura County Senior Deputy Medical Examiner Craig Stevens said.

King was on a ventilator while his family decided on organ donation, Stevens said.

Oxnard Police Department spokesman David Keith announced earlier that King was dead. "I'm sticking with my earlier statement. I was informed by the hospital that he has passed away," Keith said.

He said the teen's family asked police not to comment on King's medical condition.

The hospital referred inquiries to police.

The unidentified 14-year-old classmate arrested after the shooting was booked Tuesday for investigation of attempted murder.

If King dies, the 14-year-old could face charges of murder and use of a firearm in commission of murder, prosecutor Greg Totten said.

Totten told the Los Angeles Times he expected that his office would ask that the juvenile suspect be charged as an adult.

The District Attorney's office expected to file charges Thursday morning, and the suspect was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon, the Ventura County Star reported.

Police have not alleged a motive for the shooting, but said there appeared to have been "bad blood" between the teens. Police said a handgun was used in the attack, which occurred with more than 20 other students in the room.

King had been under the care of the county foster care system and lived at a nearby center for abused and neglected children, said Steve Elson, the facility's chief executive.

"We're are all stunned and it's just an unspeakable tragedy," Elson said.

King had been receiving help from school support staff, district Superintendent Jerry Dannenberg said. He had no details on the type of assistance the teen needed.

About three-quarters of the junior high's 1,150 student body showed up Wednesday for school, where psychologists held counseling sessions, Dannenberg said.

Oxnard is about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles.


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