This story comes to us from NBC Latino.
Jaime Gonzalez, 15, brandished what looked like a gun at Cummings Middle School in Brownsville, Texas and the situation ended in tragedy after officers shot him when he “engaged” them in the main hallway, the South Texas School district said.
The eighth grader actually had a pellet gun that police mistook for the real thing.
Gonzalez “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 told the Associated Press.
Cameron County Justice of the Peace Kip V. Johnson Hodge pronounced the teen dead at a hospital and has ordered an autopsy, said court coordinator Israel Tapia.
A seventh-grade student who said he was two classrooms from where the shooting took place said the school was already on lockdown when he heard three shots. Miguel Grimaldo, 12, told the Associated Press that students later followed police out of the building and boarded buses that took them to a neighboring park.
The 93 percent Latino city of Brownsville was shaken by the shooting, which occurred around 8 a.m., shortly after classes started.
Paulita Rico and Sara Arevalo, who work three blocks away at Jackson Feed and Seed, say that children from the school often come to their store after school.
“We heard all of this commotion,” Rico says.
“All the parents came and parked their cars on the side of the street while they ran into the school to get their kids. Apparently they had all of the kids in the gym. Tomorrow they won’t be having school there — it will be at another location.”
The school of approximately 750 students released a statement that said that no other students or employees were injured.
A review of Cummings Middle School on GreatSchools.org from 2008 by a former parent said that the teachers were very friendly and care about the students.
“Many children who attend this school come from dysfunctional families and/or economically disadvantaged situations,” it read.
“The teachers, administration, and staff do a lot to reach these students. I had my child transferred INTO this school for this very reason.”
Police chief Rodriguez defended the officers saying that they “took the necessary action to protect themselves and the other kids.” There weren’t many others in the hall at the time, but “they had every right to take the action that they took.”
Authorities declined to share what the boy said before being shot.
Adrian Carrasquillo is a news producer at NBC Latino.
All statements and opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors, and not of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or NBC News.