Miami (AFP) - Ten elementary school children in the southern US state of Georgia were hit by what appeared to be a pellet or BB gun when someone in a wooded area started shooting at their playground, an official said Thursday.
The incident sparked panic at the Wynbrooke Elementary School in DeKalb County as police descended on the scene of what initially appeared to be yet another mass shooting.
Caleb Edmonson, an 11-year-old student, told local news WSB-TV 2: "Everybody started to get a little bit panicked, but people started thinking it was a drill, but then a couple of minutes later we saw ambulances, police officers coming in, running down our hallways."
The students were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for non life-threatening injuries or picked up their parents, Portia Kirkland, a spokeswoman for DeKalb County School District told AFP, adding a police investigation was underway.
The incident came days after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting when two armed teens killed 12 students at their Colorado high school.
Since then, an estimated 226,000 children in 233 schools have been exposed to the sight or sound of gunfire, according to a Washington Post investigation.
The worst shootings to date were those at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut in 2012 (20 young children and six adults were killed) and at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last year (17 dead).