Texas teens hospitalized after being shot outside rural school

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 13, 2011 7:18 PM
Texas teens hospitalized after being shot outside rural school

By Jared Taylor and Jim Forsyth

EDINBURG, Texas (Reuters) - Two teenage boys were in stable condition in South Texas hospitals on Tuesday after being shot a day earlier in what officials said was a freak hunting accident outside a school.

The boys, ages 13 and 14, were trying out for a middle-school basketball team when they were hit by gunfire on an outdoor court, said Gilbert Tagle, a spokesman for the Edinburg Independent School District.

One boy was shot in the armpit as he was shooting a layup, and the other was shot in the lower back as he sat on a curb, Tagle told Reuters.

Authorities later detained a man they said was an illegal immigrant with a rifle on a ranch adjacent to Harwell Middle School outside Edinburg, which is about 20 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas.

He will face charges of trespassing and poaching after he was found hunting without permission on the land near the school, Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said.

But deputies said they also notified the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about the illegal immigrant possessing a firearm - a federal criminal offense.

Sheriff's deputies also detained two other men shooting target practice on land adjacent to the school campus.

They were released early Tuesday without any criminal charges, Trevino said.

Doctors recovered one bullet from one of the boys' torsos. Authorities will analyze the projectile to determine whether it came from the gun of the illegal immigrant or the men shooting targets, Trevino said. Results are expected within a month.

Counselors were on hand on Tuesday at the middle school, and administrators added security guards to the campus and took questions from parents inside the school, Tagle said. None of the bullets hit the school building.

Wooded ranch land borders the western side of the school campus, which occupies about 40 acres. The school board is now considering building a wall around the school "to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again," Tagle said.

(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Peter Bohan)