LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 12-year-old Los Angeles boy wounded two weeks ago when a gun in a classmate's backpack accidentally fired still has the bullet lodged in his head, his former teacher said Tuesday.
Issa Al-Bayati suffers bouts of dizziness, has trouble walking and vision problems. He will require another surgery and months of treatment, Bridgette Robinson wrote in a post on a GoFundMe fundraising page for the boy.
The former teacher recently visited the one-bedroom apartment where the Al-Bayati family lives. She said she was struck by the boy's resiliency and spirit after the shooting.
"When I first learned it was Issa who was shot in the head, I was horrified and saddened," Robinson wrote. "How could this happen to such a lovely, compassionate boy, who had already experienced so much loss in his life."
Robinson said Issa and his mother and brother fled their native Iraq about four years ago after his father was killed.
The boy's mother is struggling to find a job and receives government assistance, said Robinson, who taught at Sal Castro Middle School in Los Angeles for four years.
Issa was in a classroom at the school on Feb. 1 when the gun went off in the 12-year-old girl's backpack. The bullet struck a 15-year-old girl in the wrist before hitting Issa in the head.
"He believes if it weren't for the bullet first entering the hand of a fellow classmate, he would not be alive today," Robinson wrote.
The 12-year-old girl was arrested and charged with being a minor in possession of a firearm and having a weapon on school grounds.
Doctors have said Issa's injuries are not life-threatening. It's not clear if the bullet in his head will be removed in a future surgery.