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Student Shoots Three Outside His School

June 19, 1991

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ A student sent home from school for misbehaving returned with a .22-caliber rifle and opened fire on a sports field crowded with 1,000 people, injuring two teachers and a student, police said.

Orara High School science teacher Paul Israel, 39, suffered a chest wound and was in serious but stable condition at Coffs Harbor Hospital, on the north coast of New South Wales state, 275 miles north of Sydney.

A hospital spokesman said social science teacher Wayne Bailey, 38, was shot in the left hand, and 12-year-old Louise Beattie, was shot in the left thigh. Both were in satisfactory condition.

Police charged the 13-year-old boy with three counts of attempted murder and he was ordered held pending a July 1 hearing to determine whether he will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

The boy’s father was charged with not keeping a firearm safely and having an unlicensed firearm, police said. The man was scheduled to appear before a judge on Thursday. Neither he nor his son was identified by authorities.

The boy was sent home earlier in the morning for bad behavior and returned just before lunch with the rifle hidden under his coat, police said.

The sports field was packed with about 1,000 children and spectators for a track and field competition. The assailant fired several shots before two senior students overpowered him, witnesses said.

A student’s mother, Cheryl Meloni, said she first thought Israel was ″playing a joke″ when he fell to the ground in front of her. She thought the sound of the gunshots was the starter’s gun for a race, but then she saw blood on the teacher’s shirt.

″I couldn’t believe it. He just dropped down in front of me,″ she said.

Photographer Bruce Thomas of the Coffs Harbour Advocate newspaper was near the school on an assignment when the shooting occurred.

″A lot of people were very upset, obviously shocked, and walking around in a stunned silence″ after the shooting, he said. ″It is just not the sort of thing you expect to happen in Coffs Harbour.″

John Hennessy, a spokesman for the New South Wales Teachers Federation, said the group recently released a report on increased violence in schools. It recommended adding security around school areas and providing more counselors for students.

He said previous incidents included an attack on students at an inner- Sydney high school and a suicide two months ago at a nearby high school on the state’s north coast.

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