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Gay teen, shot by classmate, declared clinically dead

by Nick Langewis

An openly gay junior high student has been pronounced braindead following an attack by a classmate, according to the Los Angeles Times.

15-year-old Lawrence King, attending E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, California, was rushed to St. John's Regional Medical Center after being shot in the head and back in the school's computer lab Tuesday. His condition was said to be improving, but following an examination by two neurosurgeons, King is considered clinically dead and being kept on life support pending possible donation of his organs.

The attack is not thought to be gang-related.

King was said to have sometimes worn makeup and feminine jewelry. Said classmate Michael Sweeney, "He would come to school in high-heeled boots, makeup, jewelry and painted nails -- the whole thing. That was freaking the guys out."

Fellow students also tell the Los Angeles Times that King was harassed on a regular basis. He had been involved in an argument with a group of boys that included his alleged shooter, who is said by a witness to have specifically threatened him, on Monday.

"He didn't deserve it," said friend and confidant Mariah Thompson. "I would always tell him, 'Don't let them get to you.'"

The suspect, who has not been identified by authorities, fled the scene but was quickly apprehended in neighboring Port Hueneme. He faces a first-degree murder charge, likely as an adult; it will be tried as a hate crime it is determined that Lawrence King was targeted for his sexual orientation or gender expression.


Originally published on Thursday February 14, 2008.

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