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Palo Alto Man Arrested After Shooting Child at School with Air Rifle

PALO ALTO (CBS SF) -- A 62-year-old Palo Alto man was arrested Friday after he allegedly shot a child on a school campus with a BB fired from an air rifle, according to police.

Palo Alto police said that Friday, September 3, at about 12:28 p.m., the police dispatch center received a call from staff at Stratford School at 870 North California Avenue saying a student reported being hit in the back with a BB while on the school athletic fields during lunch.

Officers responded immediately and learned that the suspect was a local neighbor who had been seen looking over his fence immediately prior to the incident. Police said only a single shot was fired.

The student, who is elementary school-aged, received minor injuries but did not require medical attention, as the BB did not penetrate their clothing.

Police said no additional information on the victim would be released, including their gender.

Officers contacted the neighbor in question at his home. After follow-up investigation, police arrested the man -- identified as 62-year-old Palo Alto resident Bradford Minkoff -- without incident shortly before 2 p.m. Police recovered the air rifle from his home.

Bradford Minkoff
Bradford Minkoff was arrested for allegedly firing an air rifle into a school campus in Palo Alto. (Palo Alto Police Dept Photo)

While police have reason to believe the suspect intentionally discharged
the air rifle and intended to strike a student, authorities said they did not think the suspect intentionally targeted this particular student. The motive behind the suspect's actions remains under investigation.

Staff at Stratford School worked in closely with police and decided to keep
students indoors until about 2 p.m. out of an abundance of caution. Police also gave a courtesy notification to staff at the Palo Alto Unified School District, as Greene Middle School is located nearby but was not impacted by the incident.

Minkoff was later booked at the Santa Clara County Main Jail on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon, felony child abuse, and creating a disruption on a school campus, a misdemeanor.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Palo Alto Police dispatch at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.

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