Two students were wounded when a gun brought to a high school accidentally discharged, a Los Angeles Unified School District spokesman has said.
District spokesman Robert Alaniz’s account to KCBS-TV differed from information from local police who said three people were wounded at Gardena High School.
KTLA-TV’s news helicopter, meanwhile, showed footage of one youth in handcuffs on the campus.
Mr Alaniz said the gun was brought to school in a backpack and went off when the student dropped it.
Los Angeles Fire Department Captain Jamie Moore said two victims were taken to a hospital, one in serious condition and one in critical condition.
Numerous law enforcement agencies responded to the shooting at the campus near Gardena in the city of Los Angeles. Gardena police Lieutenant Steve Prendergast said a teacher called police at 10.41am (6.41pm GMT) on Tuesday. The investigation was being turned over to Los Angeles city and school district police.
A handful of frantic parents rushed to the school after hearing about the shooting on the news. They paced nervously as they waited behind police tapes for word from their children.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this before,” said Thomas Hill, whose 16-year-old and 18-year-old children attend the school. “You’re going to have confrontations between kids but never this.”
Armando Perez, whose 15-year-old son Richard, was in the school, said: “I just want to know what’s going on.”
A mother who was waiting to hear from her 14-year-old son Michael said the school has a reputation for gang violence. Lupe Contreras said she has been trying to get her son out of the school.