Updated: 23/02/12 : 08:23:17
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World :: Nine-Year-Old Boy Shoots Girl In Classroom

A nine-year-old boy has shot and critically wounded a girl in their classroom in Washington state.

Police took the schoolboy into custody after the shooting at the Armin Jahr Elementary School in Bremerton, 15 miles west of Seattle.

The girl, aged eight, was taken by air ambulance to Harborview Medical Centre in Seattle with a gunshot wound and remains in a critical condition.

Bremerton School District spokeswoman Patty Glaser said police were still investigating the incident, which took place shortly before the end of classes on Wednesday.

"We do know the gun and the student were found," she said.

The school was locked down before students were allowed to leave.

Police have been treating the incident as an accident.

District authorities said grief counsellors would be on hand for students, staff and parents.

Encouraging people to come forward with information, the school told parents: "We want to assure you that incidence (sic) such as this are rare in our community and we want your child to always feel safe."