11 Jan 2013

Teacher talked student into putting down gun

9:14 pm on 11 January 2013

Another mass school shooting in the United States may have been averted by the action of a teacher.

A 16-year-old student at Taft Union High School in a rural area of California was shot and critically wounded by a fellow student armed with a shotgun shortly after 9am (local time) on Thursday.

The shooter, aged 16, then fired at but missed another classmate, before the teacher talked him into putting down his weapon, allowing the rest of the 28-member class to get out safely.

Don Youngblood, the sheriff of Kern County in California, says the teacher was instrumental in preventing a potential tragedy.

"If it weren't for this teacher and a quick response, we don't know what might have happened. (The gunman) had as many as 20 rounds in his pocket ... this is a tragedy, but not as bad as we think it might have been."

The suspected gunman was taken into custody about 20 minutes after the shooting.

The incident comes weeks after the massacre of 26 people, including 20 young children, at a school in Newtown in Connecticut, which has revived America's debate about gun control.

Man fit to stand trial over Colorado killings

In the state of Colorado, a judge has ruled there is enough evidence for the man accused of killing 12 and wounding 58 others at a cinema in July last year to face trial.

The ruling follows a three-day hearing in which prosecutors laid out their case against the suspect, James Holmes.

It means Mr Holmes is set to be formally charged on Friday, although his lawyers have said he is not ready to enter a plea.