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Members of Civil Protection are seen outside a private school after a shooting in Torreon, Mexico, on Jan. 10, 2020.

STRINGER/Reuters

A student and teacher were killed at an elementary school in northern Mexico Friday, when the 11-year-old opened fire on his teacher and classmates with two guns, authorities said.

Coahuila state Gov. Miguel Angel Riquelme said the sixth-grade shooter and his teacher died.

The preliminary investigation showed that the student arrived at his classroom, told a classmate, “Today is the day,” and asked permission to go to the bathroom, Riquelme said. After 15 minutes he had not returned and his teacher went to look for him. He emerged from the bathroom firing two guns. The shooting ended when he shot himself, he said.

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Among the wounded were five students and a gym teacher, Riquelme said.

The governor said the shooter lived with his grandparents and that his mother had died some years ago. He said the boy had not presented behavioural problems before in the school. Investigators were looking into reports that the boy was influenced by a particular video game.

Images from the scene showed worried parents arriving at Colegio Cervantes to pick up their children Friday morning. It is a private school in downtown Torreon across the street from a large park.

Danya Mendizabal, whose daughter is in the 4th grade at Colegio Cervantes, said she was initially alerted by a chat of student mothers. She called the school, but no one answered, then she called a teacher who told her that her daughter was fine and she should come get her.

Mendizabal said her daughter was in her classroom in another part of the school and did not know what had happened. “They managed it well because the teachers were very calm,” she said.

She said she never imagined anything like it could happen at the school. “Colegio Cervantes has always distinguished itself as a very safe school of middle class kids,” she said. “Where the parents are working, but we’re paying attention.”

The school participates in a state program called “Safe Backpack” in which school personnel search each child’s backpack when they arrive at school, she said, adding that she inspects her daughter’s backpack daily.

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Torreon is an industrial city with foreign assembly plants.

School shootings are rare in Mexico. Friday’s incident was reminiscent of another in January 2017 in the northern city of Monterrey. In that case, a student opened fire in a private high school. He killed a teacher and wounded two students. The shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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