Teen opens fire in Argentine school: 4 dead
Updated: 2004-09-29 09:04

A 15-year-old student opened fire in his high (secondary) school in a town south of Argentina's capital Buenos Aires, killing four students and injuring five others, authorities said.

Relatives stand inside the school where a 15-year-old schoolboy armed with a 9-mm pistol killed four fellow students, in Argentina's Patagonian city of Carmen de Patagones, September 28, 2004. Police detained the student immediately after the shooting. Officials described him as very shy and said he did not mix well with other students, although he had no history of violence. [Reuters]

The youth identified so far only by his first name, Rafael, brought his father's 9 mm handgun to the Islas Malvinas school in Carmen de Patagones, some 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of Buenos Aires.

He began shooting in his classroom as students waited for their teacher to arrive, police and witnesses said. The boy's father had the weapon as a member of Argentina's border and river police.

"There was no scuffle, no exchange of words. (He) had the weapon, came into the classroom, started firing at the wall without saying a word. And when teachers asked him what he was doing he turned the gun on his classmates and fired at the ones who had hidden under their desks," local police commissioner Eduardo Diego said.

Policemen stand inside the school where a 15-year-old student killed four fellow students and wonded five others, in Argentina's Patagonian city of Carmen de Patagones, September 28, 2004. The shooting shocked Argentines, who are unaccustomed to such violence. [Reuters]

According to another student, Rafael continued shooting in the hallway.

Two girls and a boy that Rafael shot, aged between 15 and 16, died on the scene. A fourth girl died later in the hospital of her gunshot wounds.

Three of the five wounded students are hospitalized in serious conditions, while the other two were released, officials said.

Rafael was arrested as he left the upper middle-class state school, and surrendered "in a state of shock and without saying a word," Diego added. He was transferred to detention in the city of Bahia Blanca.

"This is the first time that an event of this magnitude happens in Argentina," said Delia Mendez, a top provincial education official.

Mendez said the teen as "did not have a background of behavior problems" that would lead teachers to believe he could cause trouble.

"He was a timid boy, who was having difficulty integrating, but he never displayed any violent attitudes," Mendez said.