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Girl Dies After School Shooting

November 20, 1999

DEMING, N.M. (AP) _ A 13-year-old girl who police said had been shot in the head by a fellow student at a New Mexico school died Saturday.

Araceli Tena died at Thomason Hospital in El Paso, Texas, where she’d been rushed by ambulance Friday shortly after she was shot in the lobby of Deming Middle School, police said.

Victor Cordova Jr., of Palomas, Mexico, was wearing a camouflage jacket when he fired a single shot from a .22-caliber handgun, police said. Police say the boy is 13 years old, but his family says he is 12.

Investigators were trying to determine a motive for the shooting at the only middle school in this farming and ranching town of 15,000, about 33 miles north of the Mexican border, said Carlos Viramontes, Deming schools superintendent.

Cordova had been charged with attempted murder, assault, aggravated assault and aggravated battery Friday. Investigators will be working with prosecutors to amend the charges, said police.

The school district had established a safety plan for such an incident following the fatal shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., Viramontes said. It was not known how the alleged shooter managed to get a gun into the school.

Counselors met with about 100 students and parents earlier Saturday at the school.

``I think what you saw today was the whole gamut of emotions from fear to anger to I don’t understand why this happened,″ Viramontes said. ``I know that some of the children and some of the parents were a little more relieved when they left.

``But this is not going to be worked out in a two-hour counseling session. This is going to take a longer amount of time,″ he said.

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