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Associated Press, Published May 09 2013

South Dakota teen shot in head returns to school

BRITTON, S.D. — A northeastern South Dakota teenager who authorities say suffered a head wound in an accidental shooting in a school parking lot returned to class less than a week after the incident.

The school's superintendent said officials will work harder to emphasize that guns are not allowed on school grounds.

Brody Heitmann, 17, was shot May 1 in the Britton-Hecla High School parking lot. He was released from a hospital in Fargo earlier this week and returned to school, the American News reported.

Heitmann told the newspaper he feels fine and that he doesn't want to discuss the shooting.

Dusty Groom, 18, of Lake City, was showing Heitmann and two other boys what he thought was an unloaded .22-caliber handgun on May 1 when the gun went off and a bullet hit Heitmann in the head, causing a flesh wound, authorities said.

Luke Nordquist, the Marshall County sheriff's deputy who responded to the incident, said all evidence pointed to the shooting being accidental. The clip had been removed from the gun but one bullet had remained in the chamber, he said.

Groom faces misdemeanor charges of reckless discharge of a firearm, possession of a firearm on school property and false reporting to authorities. A telephone listing for him could not immediately be found. He is expected to make a court appearance later this month.

School Superintendent Kevin Coles said he was concerned that the incident took place on school property. He said that while guns are common in the hunting state, people should know they can't take them on school grounds, even if they are kept in vehicles.

"I don't know if a school ever has enough control to say 'it will never happen again,' but we will do everything in our power to prevent it from happening again," Coles said.

Britton-Hecla school policy states that any student taking a firearm to school should be expelled for no less than 12 months, though the superintendent can recommend to the school board that the expulsion requirement be modified depending on the circumstances.

Coles said the school district is still investigating and officials have not yet decided what will happen to Groom.


Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.