LOS ANGELES, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Violence again rocked Los Angeles schools, when a school police officer and a student were shot and wounded outside two high schools, officials said.
Wednesday's shootings came a day after a student brought a gun onto the campus of Gardena High School, where it accidentally discharged in a classroom and struck two students.
The shooting of school police officer Jeffrey Stenroos occurred just before noon adjacent to El Camino Real High School where he was patrolling, officials said. A gunman fired multiple shots at Stenroos, striking him once in the chest. A bulletproof vest prevented the bullet from striking his body and his injuries are considered minor, police said.
About 4 hours later, a 16-year-old Bell High School student was shot and wounded about a half block from school grounds. The Times said a gunman in a black truck opened fire on the boy as he was walking home.
As a result of the Stenroos shooting, more than 350 officers blanketed the West San Fernando Valley looking for the gunman, blocking people and vehicles from entering or exiting a 7-square-mile area. At one point, nine schools were locked down.
"We've never had two days like this in my 19 years here," school board member Steve Zimmer told the Los Angeles Times. "Guns in and around school create a special kind of fear."
Anxious parents waited beyond the perimeter for their children while anxious students waited in classrooms, hoping to get out. The Times said some students, who couldn't leave their classrooms, had to relieve themselves in buckets inside closets.
A Times analysis indicated neither Gardena High nor El Camino Real High is in an area with high reports of violent crime.
Authorities stressed the incident near El Camino High School differed from the Gardena shooting.
"This was not a schools shooting," Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti said. "It was a shooting near a school."
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