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Oxnard School Shooting Now a Murder Case; Possible Hate Crime*

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The eighth grade student who was shot by a classmate at Oxnard's Green Junior High School on Tuesday died in hospital Wednesday.

15-year-old Lawrence King was shot twice at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in a computer lab where at least 20 students were working. 14-year-old classmate Brandon McInerney was behind the trigger, according to witnesses.

*UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: The 14-year-old suspect was charged with attempted murder (likely to be upgraded to murder) with a hate-crime enhancement -- AP.

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The District Attorney's Office is expected to file murder charges this morning. The suspect will likely be tried as an adult and may face 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

"My client's family's thoughts and prayers go out to the teen's family," said McInerney's attorney.

The shooting came as a horrific surprise to the 1,150 students at E.O. Green Junior High School. The suspect was not reported to have acted violently in the past according to peers.

But students who knew King paint a tragic picture of an outcast who at times wore makeup and dressed in girl's clothing and was often teased.

Some students have said King was openly gay, although police and school officials have declined to comment on that. Others have said he and the suspect had an ongoing dispute, including an argument Monday. -- Ventura County Star
"He would come to school in high-heeled boots, makeup, jewelry and painted nails -- the whole thing," said Michael Sweeney, 13, an eighth-grader. "That was freaking the guys out." -- LA Times

King was living at Casa Pacifica foster home in Oxnard. Staff members at Casa Pacifica familiar with King contacted the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance when they heard of the shooting, according to the Star.

King's body was on life support pending possible organ donations but he was pronounced clinically dead on Wednesday.

AP Photo/Gus Ruelas