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The BBC's David Willis
"It seems no amount of grief will rekindle the debate on tighter gun control laws"
 real 56k

Friday, 23 March, 2001, 10:06 GMT
Second San Diego school shooting
El Cajon shooting
Police acted quickly to detain a suspect
Five people are reported to have been injured in another school shooting in the United States.

An 18-year-old man is believed to have opened fire, wounding three students and a teacher before he was shot by a police officer.

The gunman, named by police as former student Justin Hoffman, was detained after the shooting at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego, just before 1300 Pacific time (2100GMT).

Jason Hoffman
Police say former student Jason Hoffman was the gunman
The incident comes less than three weeks after two students were shot dead and 13 were injured at a high school in another San Diego suburb, Santee.

Police said Mr Hoffman, who was shot in the jaw and buttocks by police, suffered the most serious injuries during the incident and was undergoing surgery.

They said he had been armed with a shotgun and a pistol, but it was unclear whether he fired the handgun in the attack.

Two boys, a girl and a teacher are reported to have suffered pellet wounds which were not life threatening.


Witnesses spoke of a youth with a shaved head assuming a sniper's position and firing a number of shots, stopping to reload at one point.

Student Chris Wesley said that the suspect had left the school last year.

Fellow student Ryan Carrillo described the attack.

"It sounded like an explosion, like in a chemistry class or something," he said.

Seven other people suffered minor injuries from broken glass and falls during the evacuation of the school.

Students at El Cajon
Three students and a teacher were hit by shotgun pellets

Granite Hills has 2,900 students, and is only 10km (six miles) away from Santana High School in Santee, where the shootings earlier in March occurred.

A middle and elementary school nearby locked their doors and kept students inside after the shooting.

Glorianne Pollock, whose son attends Granite Hills, described the latest incident as a "nightmare".

She said: "As a parent, I'm worried to send my kids to school. This wasn't as bad as Santee, but it could have been."

A BBC correspondent in California says this latest incident is unlikely to focus debate on gun control. He says people are now reluctant to discuss the topic because of the power of the gun lobby.

The boy charged in connection with the Santee school killings, Charles Andrew Williams, will appear in court next Monday. He is due to be charged as an adult for murder and assault.

The Santee incident was the worst episode of school violence since two students at Columbine High School in Colorado killed 13 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives, two years ago.

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America and the gun

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