Thursday, May 20, 1999 Published at 23:54 GMT 00:54 UK
US hit by new school shooting
Students thought it was a prank at first
A 15-year-old girl is in a critical condition, and five other pupils injured, following a shooting at a US high school, a month to the day after the Columbine High School massacre.
The 15-year-old, who was shot in the stomach, was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta where she is said to be stable. None of the other students were seriously injured.
"This underlines how profoundly important it is that all Americans come together in the face of these events to protect our children from violence. We must press ahead aggressively with the national campaign," he said.
The 15-year-old suspect at Heritage High was arrested almost immediately after the shooting. A .22 rifle was recovered.
The shooting took place near a cafeteria where some pupils were eating breakfast.
Students said a white male, wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, walked though the double doors into the high school with a shotgun.
He walked into the school cafeteria, fired several times then ran back outside.
Thought it was a 'prank'
He said people thought is was a prank at first and took no notice.
"Then people just took off running. Then we looked at one of our friends, and his foot was bleeding," he said.
One student, identified as William, said: "He shot three people. After that he put the revolver in his mouth but he didn't shoot."
Heritage High has about 1,300 students. Its security measures comprise a campus policeman and surveillance cameras.
BBC Washington Correspondent says the shooting had a dramatic effect on proceedings in the Senate, where Senators were preparing to resume a running debate on gun control.
Vice President Al Gore used his constitutional role as Senate president to cast a the deciding vote when Senators were split 50-50 on whether to create a special body to control gun shows and bar non-firearm license holders from attending them.
There was a 79-21 majority for measures requiring pawn shops to do background checks on customers before completing all firearm transfers.
Correspondents say such measures would have been unthinkable in the past because of the strength of the gun lobby.