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Monday 19 March 2018

Boy, 13, killed teacher in school

People stand outside the high school in Barcelona. (AP)
People stand outside the high school in Barcelona. (AP)
A woman comforts a young girl outside a high school in Barcelona, Spain. (AP)

A 13-year-old Spanish boy armed with a crossbow and a machete killed a substitute teacher and injured four people at his school in Barcelona.

The unidentified boy was detained by police as a suspect after the attack that also saw two other teachers and two students injured. Authorities said he will not face criminal charges because he is under the age of 14.

The attack took place in the high school in a working class neighbourhood of Spain's second-largest city. School attacks are extremely rare in Spain.

"We were just starting the class and suddenly we heard screams," said student Gemma Jarque. "So we shut ourselves inside our classroom in order to be safe."

A regional police spokeswoman said the boy had a crossbow and a machete but she was unable to say which weapon caused the man's death.

She said the investigation was being carried out under a secrecy order and she had no further details.

The boy was taken to a hospital for a psychiatric examination, said Jose Miguel Company, a spokesman for the Barcelona prosecutor's office.

"He was very disturbed and saying strange and incoherent things," said Company, who added that the examination is aimed at determining whether the boy has psychiatric problems or whether he was faking them.

Another student, Paula Amayuelas, said she knew the suspect and that he "didn't have problems but he was kind of a loner. Other students would pick on him".

The two wounded students and one of the injured teachers were taken to Barcelona hospitals for treatment while the other injured teacher was treated at the scene and did not need to go to hospital.

Parents and students gathered in silence outside the school for students ages 12-16, hugging each other. Students said the teacher killed was a substitute working at the school for about a week.

Police in Barcelona did not identify the suspect because of his age.

In Spain, children under age 14 are not held legally responsible for crimes and cannot be jailed or placed in juvenile detention centers.

They can be sent to mental health institutions, said a spokesman for Spain's Justice Ministry.

Press Association

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