LOS ANGELES (AFP) – A US teen who had been fighting for her life after a fellow high school student shot her in the head in a Friday rampage has died, the hospital caring for her said.
Gia Soriano, 14, is the second teen to die in the country’s latest shooting spree, in which a male student opened fire in a high school cafeteria in the northwestern state of Washington, gunning down one girl before shooting himself dead.
Soriano “passed away tonight as a result of her injuries”, Providence Regional Medical Center said late Sunday.
In a brief statement, members of the Soriano family said they were “devastated by this senseless tragedy”, adding that “words cannot express how much we will miss her”.
Soriano had been one of three teens – two girls and a boy – who were in critical condition after they were shot in the head. Another boy was in a serious condition after he was shot in the jaw.
Joanne Roberts, a doctor at Providence hospital in the city of Everett, 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Seattle, had said both of the girls underwent surgery for head wounds.
The two boys are being treated at a separate facility and are reportedly cousins of the shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, a popular first-year student at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
Police are attempting to ascertain a motive the shootings. Local media said Fryberg played on the school football team and had been named a homecoming prince just a week ago.
“When I saw him, I was like, oh my gosh, that’s Jaylen. I would have never expected it would have been him out of all people,” student Rachel Heichel said.
A young female teacher, Megan Silberberger, intercepted Fryberg, who shot himself in the neck during a brief tussle according to media reports. The bullet killed Fryberg but it was unclear if it was intentional.
Students gave graphic details of the moment Fryberg began his shooting spree.
“I could see Jaylen standing up with a gun, and he started shooting,” Josiah Gould, 14, told The Seattle Times.
“They were sitting down and he was behind them shooting. After that I just ran.”
Fryberg, a Native American, had left a series of tortured posts on Twitter, suggesting a teenager used to handling guns, and hinting that a failed romance may have led to the shooting.
Previous mass shootings, like that which killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, have triggered intense debate about America’s lax gun laws.
Providence hospital called for a moment of silence on Monday at 10:39 am, the time of the shooting.
Soriano’s family said they would donate her organs.