Pupils hurt in air weapon incident

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The Independent Online

Eight pupils were injured when an air weapon was fired near a school today.

Strathclyde Police said 11 youngsters, five females and six males, aged between 12 and 16, received injuries to the legs and torso at Auchinleck Academy in East Ayrshire.

An 18-year-old male and 15-year-old boy have been detained, police said.

One pupil remains at Crosshouse Hospital, outside Kilmarnock.

A Strathclyde Police statement said: "Police are following a definite line of inquiry."

Auchinleck is about 35 miles south of Glasgow.

Police said they were called to the academy at 1.40pm following reports of an airgun being fired.

The incident happened less than half a mile from the school and near a Co-Op food store.

A spokeswoman from East Ayrshire Council said: "The school responded immediately, informing the police and parents of the children involved, and sought appropriate medical attention.

"The council is working closely with the school to ensure that the school, the children and their families are appropriately supported."

Local Labour MP and MSP Cathy Jamieson said: "This incident highlights the dangers these weapons pose to our communities.

"I will be working hard both at Westminster and Holyrood in the days and weeks ahead.

"The police in Auchinleck dealt with this serious situation and I am pleased that an individual is now in custody."

Scotland's Education Secretary Michael Russell said: "My thoughts are with the pupils and families involved in this extremely disturbing incident - concern about the misuse of air weapons is widespread and long-standing in Scotland.

"The Scottish Government is in contact with both Strathclyde Police and East Ayrshire Council about what happened, and ministers are being kept fully informed.

"Responsibility for air weapons is to be transferred from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament, and action will follow."