Calif. junior high shooting victim brain dead

Thursday, February 14, 2008

OXNARD, Calif. -- A 15-year-old boy who was shot in the head at school was declared brain dead Wednesday but was kept on a ventilator for possible organ donation, a medical examiner said.

Eighth-grader Lawrence King, who was shot Tuesday, was pronounced brain dead at 2 p.m. at St. John's Regional Medical Center after two neurosurgeons examined him, said Craig Stevens, senior deputy medical examiner in Ventura County.

King was clinically dead but was kept on a ventilator pending a family decision 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.

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

The hospital referred inquiries to police.

An unidentified 14-year-old classmate arrested near E.O. Green Junior High after the shooting Tuesday was booked for investigation of attempted murder.

The charges could become more serious if King dies. He could face charges of murder and use of a firearm in commission of murder, prosecutor Greg Totten said.

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.

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

The school is in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles.

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