SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (Information) – A Southern California highschool scholar killed two classmates and wounded three on Thursday, pulling a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun from his backpack and emptying it in a matter of seconds as the college day started.
He saved the final bullet for himself. It was his 16th birthday.
The teenaged gunman, whose title was not supplied by police, survived the self-inflicted gunshot wound to the pinnacle however was in grave situation in hospital, regulation enforcement officers mentioned.
Captain Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division instructed reporters all the incident, captured on videotape, took 16 seconds because the younger man stood in a single spot and fired on one scholar after one other.
“From proper the place he was standing, he doesn’t chase anyone, he fires from the place he’s till he shoots himself,” Wegener mentioned.
The scene at Saugus Excessive Faculty was paying homage to different mass shootings at U.S. faculties, together with Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty in Parkland, Florida, the place a former scholar with an assault gun killed 17 folks on Feb. 14, 2018.
It was the 85th incident of gunfire at a faculty this yr, based on Everytown, a gun management advocacy group. It appears positive to reignite a debate over gun management within the 2020 presidential election.
Wegener mentioned the suspect posted a message on an Instagram account earlier than the capturing that mentioned: “Saugus have enjoyable in school tomorrow.”
However a spokeswoman for Instagram’s father or mother firm Fb later instructed Information that the account didn’t belong to the suspect. The submit was taken down and the account eliminated.
The 2 slain college students had been a 16-year-old lady and a 14-year-old boy. Two different ladies, aged 14 and 15, had been wounded, as was a 14-year previous boy, Wegener mentioned.
Investigators mentioned they didn’t know what led the scholar to open hearth on the faculty 40 miles (65 km) north of Los Angeles.
Police mentioned the accused shooter had acted alone. Investigators descended on his household residence, blocking the road. They discovered no additional hazard there.
A next-door neighbor, registered nurse Jared Axen, mentioned the suspect had appeared introverted, quiet and unhappy, presumably despondent over the lack of his father from a coronary heart assault in December 2017.
Axen, 33, mentioned it was the boy who discovered his father deceased, not lengthy after the older man had regained his sobriety and gotten his life “again on observe” after years of combating alcohol abuse.
“I might say he (the boy) was hurting and couldn’t ask for assist,” Axen mentioned of the suspect, who was a observe athlete on the faculty, concerned in Boy Scouts and favored the outside, happening looking journeys together with his father.
He was of blended race, born to Japanese-born mom and white father, with an older sister who grew to become a nurse and moved away.
“I might ask him how faculty was … he would by no means carry up issues of bullying or being a loner there,” Axen mentioned.
There was no fast phrase on the place the teenager gunman obtained the weapon.
“How can we come out of tragedy? We have to say ‘No extra!’ It is a tragic occasion. It occurs too steadily,” mentioned Captain Robert Lewis of Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s station, putting an emotional be aware in a somber information convention.
LATEST SCHOOL SHOOTING
A 16-year-old Saugus Excessive Faculty junior named Pamela, who spoke to Information provided that she not give her final title, mentioned she was in her first-period choir class when some ladies bumped into the room and mentioned there was a capturing happening.
“Our instructor instantly grabbed a hearth extinguisher and obtained us into her workplace and locked the door,” Pamela mentioned, including that one of many ladies had been shot within the shoulder.
Taylor Hardges reported seeing folks operating within the hallways shouting “Run!” She raced right into a classroom, the place a instructor barricaded the room.
“We’ve had drills. It doesn’t put together you for the actual factor,” she mentioned after reuniting together with her father at a delegated spot in Santa Clarita’s Central Park.
Her father, Terrence Hardges, mentioned he felt his coronary heart race after Taylor texted him from contained in the classroom with the message: “I like you. I’m pinned in a room. We’re locked in.”
It’s the second tragedy in simply over two weeks for Santa Clarita, a metropolis of about 210,000 in a big brush-covered valley.
A wildfire known as the Tick Hearth compelled 50,000 folks to evacuate within the valley and closed faculties within the space, together with Saugus. Central Park, the reunification level for the shootings, was the command management heart for the blaze.
Reporting by Steve Gorman and Alan Devall in Santa Clarita; Extra reporting by Maria Caspani, Gabriella Borter and Barbara Goldberg in New York Metropolis, Brad Brooks in Austin, Texas, Dan Whitcomb in Culver Metropolis and Wealthy McKay in Atlanta and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Writing by Daniel Trotta and Dan Whitcomb; Enhancing by Invoice Berkrot, Invoice Tarrant and Grant McCool