2 Dead, 3 Injured in Shooting at Saugus (Calif.) High School
Authorities engaged in an intensive search for the shooter after the attack, not realizing the suspect was among the wounded students.
UPDATE Nov. 15, 2019: The suspected gunman has been identified as 16-year-old Nathaniel Berhow. He succumbed to his self-inflicted injuries on Friday afternoon, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
The two victims who died have been identified as Gracie Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14.
Authorities have not determined Berhow’s motive for the shooting, although they do believe it was planned. He didn’t leave behind a manifesto or note, and hasn’t been linked to any group that embraces a violent ideology, reports CBS News.
Police searched the suspect’s home and found six firearms that were all registered to Berhow’s father, who died two years ago, reports ABC 7. No registration for the gun that was used in the shooting was found at the house.
Two people were killed and three others were injured after a gunman opened fire at a Santa Clarita high school Thursday morning.
The shooting happened at Saugus High School around 7:40 a.m. local time, a half-hour before the school day officially began, reports ABC News.
First responders arrived around 7:40 a.m. and discovered six students, including the gunman, suffering from gunshot wounds in the school’s quad. A .45 semi-automatic pistol with no rounds left in it was recovered from the scene.
All six students were transported to local hospitals where two of them, a 16-year-old female and 14-year-old male, later died. The surviving victims are two girls and one boy. The student gunman is said to be in grave condition.
All schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District were placed on lockdown and local residents were urged to stay indoors as the suspect was originally believed to be at large, setting in motion an intensive manhunt.
“This is an active shooter situation. If you live in neighborhoods anywhere near Saugus High, PLEASE LOCK DOORS and stay inside. If you see suspect, male dark clothing, in backyards, etc. CALL 911,” a tweet from the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s office said before it was known the student was among the injured. “Parents, deputies are on scene everywhere protecting your children.”
In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office Captain Kent Wegener said video obtained from the scene shows the suspect taking a pistol out of his backpack before shooting classmates and then himself, according to CNN. The whole attack lasted approximately 16 seconds.
The suspect’s girlfriend and mother were speaking with detectives, Wegener said, adding that the day of the shooting was the student’s 16th birthday.
Wegener also addressed reports of a possible online threat before the attack.
“I know there are rumors out there about social media posts and different videos that may have been posted from this,” he said. “We will be looking into that. At this point I don’t have any information about that.”
Students Recall Gunshots, Terror
Aerial footage showed students being escorted away from the school with their hands raised and victims being wheeled away on gurneys to awaiting ambulances.
Many students were transported from the campus on school buses with armed deputies on board. A reunification area was set up at a nearby park.
Two students told CNN they heard five gunshots go off inside the school.
“It was one and then four quick ones, so bang, and then bang, bang, bang, bang,” one of the students said.
Freshman Rosie Rodriguez told AP News she was walking up the library stairs when she heard what sounded like balloons popping. She realized they were gunshots when she saw other students running.
Rodriguez was able to get out of the school and ran across the street to a home where about 10 other students were seeking shelter.
“I just heard a lot of kids crying,” Rodriguez said. “We were scared.”
Some students remained locked in classrooms for more than an hour. Student Sharon Orelana Cordova hid under a table in a nurse’s office until police officers came to get her.
“When I got out, I saw this person lying on the ground with blood all over,” she said.
Earlier this year, Saugus student Elija Mims, 15, acted in an active shooter training video for a class project. He said his role as a person hiding from the actor playing the gunman in the video helped him respond to today’s attack, reports USA Today.
At the time of today’s shooting, Mims was just a few feet away from his armed classmate. Mims ran away to an empty classroom and huddled quietly with other students until the police arrived.
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