Teacher killed, 4 wounded by stu­dent in Cat­alo­nia

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY CIARAN GILES AND HER­NAN MUNOZ

A Cat­alo­nian stu­dent re­port­edly armed with a cross­bow and a knife killed a sub­sti­tute teacher and wounded four oth­ers at a school in Barcelona, po­lice and wit­nesses said Mon­day.

The uniden­ti­fied boy was de­tained by po­lice as a sus­pect af­ter the attack that also saw two other teach­ers and two stu­dents in­jured. Au­thor­i­ties said he will not face crim­i­nal charges be­cause he is un­der age 14. Span­ish me­dia re­ported his age as 13.

The attack, which took place just af­ter 9.30 a.m., sowed ter­ror in the high school in a work­ing class neigh­bor­hood of Spain’s sec­ond-largest city. School at­tacks are ex­tremely rare in Spain.

“We were just start­ing the class and sud­denly we heard screams,” said stu­dent Gemma Jar­que. “So we shut our­selves in­side our class­room in or­der to be safe.”

A re­gional po­lice spokes­woman said the teacher killed was at­tacked with a weapon that had a blade, but would not say what ex­actly was used.

She spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of po­lice reg­u­la­tions that pre­vented her from be­ing identi- fied by name.

Span­ish Na­tional Tele­vi­sion and other Span­ish me­dia re­ported that the boy had a knife and a cross­bow when he en­tered the school.

The boy was taken to a hos­pi­tal for a psy­chi­atric ex­am­i­na­tion, said Jose Miguel Com­pany, a spokesman for the Barcelona pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice.

“He was very dis­turbed and say­ing strange and in­co­her­ent things,” said Com­pany, who added that the exam is aimed at de­ter­min­ing whether the boy has psy­chi­atric prob­lems or whether he was fak­ing them.

Au­thor­i­ties did not dis­close de­tails of how the attack played out, but Jar­que said she and oth­ers hid in her class­room af­ter hear­ing the screams and left along with other stu­dents only af­ter a fire alarm sounded.

“We saw the teacher ly­ing on the floor in a pool of blood,” she said.

An­other stu­dent, Paula Amayue­las, said she knew the sus­pect and that he “didn’t have prob­lems but he was kind of a loner. Other stu­dents would pick on him.”

The two wounded stu­dents and one of the in­jured teach­ers were taken to Barcelona hos­pi­tals for treat­ment while the other in­jured teacher was treated at the scene and did not need hos­pi­tal­iza­tion.

Par­ents and stu­dents gath­ered in stunned si­lence out­side the school for stu­dents ages 12-16, hug­ging each other. Stu­dents said the teacher killed was a sub­sti­tute work­ing at the school for about a week.

Po­lice in Barcelona did not iden­tify the sus­pect be­cause of his age.

In Spain, chil­dren un­der age 14 are not held legally re­spon­si­ble for crimes and can­not be jailed or placed in ju­ve­nile detention cen­ters.

They can be sent to men­tal health in­sti­tu­tions, said a spokesman for Spain’s Jus­tice Min­istry who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of min­istry pol­icy.

A na­tional po­lice spokesman could not re­call any fa­tal school at­tacks in the coun­try’s re­cent his­tory.

Spain did avert an at­tempt in 2012 by a 21-year-old Span­ish man who al­legedly wanted to im­i­tate the attack in Columbine, Colorado that killed 12 stu­dents and one teacher.

A spokesman for re­gional po­lice said it was too early to de­ter­mine whether Mon­day’s attack was an at­tempt to copy­cat the Columbine attack, which took place 16 years ago to the day.

AP

A woman com­forts a young girl out­side a high school in Barcelona, Spain on Mon­day, April 20.

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