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Thursday, January 5, 2012
A 15-year-old boy has been shot dead at his US school Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2012/01/05/teenager-armed-with-pellet-gun-shot-dead-by-police-at-us-school-115875-23680613/#ixzz1ibInw7qX
A 15-year-old boy has been shot dead at his US school after brandishing a gun and pointing it at police.
Officers in Texas fired three shots at Jaime Gonzalez, hitting him twice.
But the weapon wielded by the eighth-grader turned out to be a pellet gun that closely resembled the real thing.
Now the teenager’s distraught parents are demanding answers from authorities.
The boy "had plenty of opportunities to lower the gun and listen to the officers' orders, and he didn't want to", Interim Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez said.
Shortly before yesterday's confrontation, Gonzalez had walked into a classroom at Cummings Middle School in Brownsville and punched a boy in the nose for no apparent reason.
Police did not know why he pulled out the weapon.
"We think it looks like this was a way to bring attention to himself," the police chief said.
Gonzalez did not threaten pupils or teachers, and no-one else was hurt.
A photo of the carbon dioxide powered pellet handgun 15-year-old Jaime Gonzalez
His father, also called Jaime, said today he had no idea where his son obtained the gun or why he brought it to school.
"We wouldn't give him a gift like that," he said from the family's home, where other relatives and friends of his son were gathering.
He said nothing seemed amiss when he, his wife and their son went out for nachos the night before, then went home and watched a film.
He said he last saw his son yesterday morning, when he said goodbye before leaving to catch the bus to school.
Mr Gonzalez, struggling to reconcile the day's events, said his son seemed to be doing better in school and was always helpful, mowing neighbours' lawns, washing dogs and fixing other children's bikes.
Both he and his wife Noralva questioned why police repeatedly shot at their son and called the shooting unjustified.
"Why was so much excess force used on a minor?" he said. "Three shots. Why not one that would bring him down?"
His wife, who demanded that the officers be punished, added: "What happened was an injustice."
Mr Rodriguez said his officers "took the necessary action to protect themselves and the other kids".
There were not many others in the school hallway at the time, but "they had every right to take the action that they took", he said.
Authorities declined to reveal what Gonzalez said before being shot.
"There were witnesses that saw everything," Mr Rodriguez said. "We are happy there were not other victims."
The shooting happened as classes were about to begin at Cummings. Teachers locked classroom doors and turned off lights, and some frightened pupils climbed under their desks.
They could hear police charge down the hallway and shout for Gonzalez to drop the weapon, followed by several shots.
Brownsville, on Texas' southern tip, is beset by spillover violence from Mexico's drug war. As word of the shooting spread through the city, frantic parents rushed to reach their children.
Gonzales' godmother, Norma Leticia Navarro, said she could not imagine why he would have brought a gun to school.
"I wish I could ask him why he did that, 'Why did you put yourself in that position?'," she said.
Ms Navarro said she understood that police were doing their job, but wondered if other steps could have been taken.
"Jaime was not a bad kid," she said. "I'm not saying he was perfect or an angel, but he was a very giving person."
Administrators said the school would be closed today.