spain crossbowing
A police officer stands guard as pupils stand behind a police line outside a high school where a minor was arrested on suspicion of killing a teacher and wounding four others, in Barcelona April 20, 2015. Spanish police have arrested the minor on suspicion of killing the teacher and wounding four others in the attack at the high school in Barcelona on Monday. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

When the unidentified 13-year-old student arrived an hour late to his first class at the Instituto Joan Fusteru in Barcelona, Spain, he came armed, deranged and ready to kill. Eyewitness say that he showed up at the school in military fatigues, carrying weapons and a “blacklist” of 25 people that he planned to murder. Using a crossbow, he allegedly shot his homeroom teacher in the face. then, he shot another teacher in the stomach. That teacher, a substitute, died from his injury. Using a large knife -- reportedly a machete -- the student slashed or stabbed fellow classmates as they fled the building. At least four more were injured but not seriously hurt. The 13-year old was reportedly subdued by a school employee that wrestled him to the ground. The assailant is now in a psychiatric hospital.

The student did not carry any firearms. That’s not just fortunate, but a consequence of Spain’s strict gun laws, which treat firearms as a privilege and not a right. Sport shooting and hunting is popular, especially in rural areas, but gun owners have to comply with strict licences. It’s unlikely that the student’s parents had any guns in their house. Even crossbows require licences in Spain. However, it’s rare for vendors to ask for a permit before selling them, especially online, according to El Mundo. Why a crossbow? The shooter reportedly obsessed over the television series the Walking Dead, in which a character named Daryl Dixon (played by Norman Reedus), who uses a crossbow to shoot zombies. It’s unknown how he got access to the weapon.

Now in a mental hospital, the boy will not face charges. Spanish law does not allow for children under the age of 14 to be fully held responsible for crimes, or be placed in jails or juvenile detention. That’s very different than the U.S., where many states allow children to be “tried as adults” in cases such as premeditation. One ongoing case in Pennsylvania involved a 10-year-old boy who allegedly killed an elderly women. That boy just spent his third month in an adult jail. The Spanish boy who killed may not set foot in prison, but he’s likely to spend a long time in a psychiatric hospital before he’s released.

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