Teen ROTC shooting, student mistakenly shot his friend

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Teen ROTC shooting, student mistakenly shot his friend.

Classes resumed under tightened security Thursday at Bellaire High School, two days after a shooting at the Texas school left one student dead.

Junior ROTC member Cesar Cortes, 19, was killed in a classroom at the school by another JROTC member who was showing Cortez a semi-automatic handgun, Bellaire Police Lt. Greg Bartlett said. The 16-year-old shooter, who then fled, was taken into custody more than three hours later.

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Bartlett said the accused shooter told friends what happened but has not cooperated with police. The gun has not been recovered, he said.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said the shooter was charged with manslaughter.

“They were friends,” Ogg said. “This is not an accident because 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.”

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The district canceled classes Wednesday, but they will resume Thursday with additional police officers patrolling campus, school officials said. All backpacks and other bags were being searched.

“These are initial precautions and more long-term, sustainable changes are being developed by the school safety and security committee,” Principal Michael McDonough wrote in an email obtained by KTRK-TV. “I thank you for your continued support.”

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Ogg said the investigation was continuing. Authorities were seeking help from residents in finding and gun, and asked that any gun found be reported to police.

“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 our community’s collective loss.”

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