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A Houston Independent School District Police K-9 unit responds to a shooting, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, at Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The Canadian Press

A 16-year-old student mistakenly shot his friend in their Houston-area high school’s ROTC room before fleeing and being arrested several hours later, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said that based on evidence gathered so far, the Tuesday afternoon shooting does not appear to have been intentional. She said the two students, both 16, were part of Bellaire High School’s ROTC program.

Ogg said that the shooting was reckless but there is no evidence that the two had been fighting.

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“They were friendly. They were friends,” she said. “Pulling a trigger on a gun, whether you know if it’s loaded or not, is an intentional act. But he did not, based on the evidence we have right now, intend to kill his friend.”

Ogg said there’s a lot still unknown in the investigation and that police have not yet recovered the gun. She would not say whether it was n ROTC weapon.

“This is a regular kid, evidently, who is now a violent offender,” Ogg said of the shooter. “Whether he meant to be violent or not, he killed somebody. And that somebody was a son, and a student, and a friend, and it’s out communities collective loss.”

The defendant, whose name wasn’t released, fled the scene after the shooting and was arrested about 3½ hours later, authorities said. He was charged as a minor with manslaughter, a spokesman for Ogg’s office said.

Police said they received a call about the shooting at around 4 p.m. and that the victim died later at a hospital.

The district cancelled classes Wednesday but they will resume Thursday with additional police officers patrolling campus, Grenita Lathan, the interim superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, said in a statement.

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