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Pellet gun fired at GHS students

A 13-year-old boy is in custody facing charges of felony assault
with a deadly weapon after firing a pellet gun at a group of Gilroy
High School students Wednesday.
GILROY – A 13-year-old boy is in custody facing charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon after firing a pellet gun at a group of Gilroy High School students Wednesday.

No students were seriously wounded, but the assailant fired six to seven rounds that grazed several students and hit one freshman student on the lower leg.

The victim of the shooting was treated at the scene and then taken by his parents to have the pellet lodged in his leg by the air-powered pistol removed.

Gilroy police interviewed witnesses and the nine boys involved in the confrontation and said the motive for the shooting was not clear, but have ruled out anything gang-related.

Gilroy High Principal Bob Bravo said the student who was arrested was not a GHS student, but the three other boys he was with were students at the school.

“Apparently there was a confrontation between (two groups), a group of four boys and five boys on Princevalle Street east of the school, and the suspect pulled the gun and fired six to seven rounds at the one group,” Gilroy Police Department Cpl. Ronnie Georges said. “Pellets grazed the pants of several of the boys, but only embedded the one (who was wearing shorts).”

Police declined to name the boy in custody because he is a minor.

The dispute took place shortly before 8 a.m. and triggered the response of five patrol cars and an ambulance to the scene.

Bravo said school security and staff responded to loud yelling that was coming from the sidewalk across the street from the high school.

It was not immediately known where the suspect lives or attends school, but the school district’s safety officer said he was not enrolled in any district school, according an e-mail sent to South Valley Middle School Principal Sal Tomasello.

Superintendent Edwin Diaz left a county superintendent’s meeting about noon to meet with high school staff about the incident.

Diaz said he could not comment about any measures the high school or district would take to inform parents because he had not been fully briefed.

Following the shooting, witnesses and staff members alerted the GPD’s school resource officer on the campus to the whereabouts and description of the shooter. The officer then apprehended the suspect on Glenview Court, where he fled and hid the gun underneath a parked car.

The 13-year-old is being charged with assault with a deadly weapon – a felony – along with several possible additional charges for committing a crime in a school zone.

None of the other eight students involved in the confrontation were arrested, although police and school officials did conduct interviews with the boys – all GHS students – to find a motive for the confrontation.

“There is no indication this has been brewing or will continue to escalate,” Georges said. “It appears to be an isolated incident.”

After interviewing the witnesses police turned the students over to the high school, which will continue to investigate the incident, Bravo said.

“We want to get into why this occurred and make sure it doesn’t escalate any further,” he said. “The No. 1 thing is that we want to find out why non-students are so close to our campus.”

Two of the high school’s eight security guards were in the area east of the campus when the incident took place, Bravo said. One security guard is usually designated to monitor both Princevalle and 10th streets – where the high school is located – for non-students, he said.

Police have no plans to increase patrols near the campus. The usual patrol car will monitor the area near GHS when school lets out, Georges said.