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L.A. student took a bullet in the jaw, but the district didn't disclose the shooting for 2 weeks

Howard Blume, Sonali Kohli And Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- A student was shot in the jaw on Aug. 27 at Hollenbeck Middle School in Boyle Heights, possibly struck by a bullet fired from off campus, an incident that Los Angeles school officials publicly acknowledged for the first time Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Unified School District confirmed the shooting after it was disclosed at a Tuesday school board meeting by Gil Gamez, the head of the school police officers union. Los Angeles police are investigating, a department spokesman said. The student is recovering.

After Gamez spoke to board members, The Times made immediate queries and School Police Chief Steven Zipperman quickly put together a written briefing for the Board of Education and released the document to The Times. An LAPD spokesman said the department agreed with the facts in Zipperman's report.

"A student was standing in line at nutrition/lunch, when another student standing behind him mentioned he was bleeding near the ear/jaw area," Zipperman wrote to the board. "The student apparently also felt 'something' strike him."

Zipperman's rundown noted that the school nurse treated the student but "it was still unknown what caused the bleeding."

"At the time of this incident, no other persons, both students and adults nearby, heard or saw anything unusual," Zipperman noted.


Without any obvious evidence of a shooting or information about what struck the student, "this incident was deemed NOT an on campus-related crime," the report stated.

The boy's mother took him to a local hospital, Gamez said.

That day, Hollenbeck Principal Elsa Bolado sent out brief phone and email messages to parents saying "there was an incident outside the school that caused a student at Hollenbeck to be injured. Be assured that the student is well and all of our students are safe."

The principal offered a revised version of events in a message sent out Tuesday night, after the disclosures by Gamez.


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