Update 12:40 p.m. In the wake of the Newtown massacre, a shooting incident at a Kern Co. high school this morning is adding to already jangled nerves about gun violence in schools. A 16-year-old student is in custody for allegedly shooting a classmate and firing but missing at another student. Details from the Kern County Sheriff’s Department press conference…
- The alleged shooter was a 16-year-old student at the school, Taft Union High School in Kern Co., who did not show up to science class this morning. But in the middle of that class, he appeared with a 12-gauge shotgun and fired at a fellow student, also 16, who is now in critical but stable condition. Another student is being checked for hearing damage sustained from the sound of the gunshot.
- The shooter then named another student he intended to shoot, fired at that student and missed.
- It’s believed that two to four shots total were fired. The suspect had about 20 rounds of ammunition on him.
- After the initial shots, the class teacher and the campus supervisor who had arrived engaged the suspect in conversation, allowing for the class to evacuate. The suspect then put the shotgun down and was taken into custody. At some point, the suspect told the teacher he didn’t want to shoot him. From the Bakersfield Californian: “The suspect pointed the gun in several directions while the teacher and campus supervisor talked to him.” Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who was at the press conference, said “I want to commend the teacher. I think he saved many lives today.”
- From the Bakersfield Californian: “Family identified that teacher, who officials said suffered a pellet gun wound to the head, as Ryan Heber. His father, David Heber, said he had heard rumors of a shooting at the school but wasn’t initially worried that his son was a target. “His students like him a whole bunch,” said Heber, 70. “He’s not the kind of teacher a student would try to hurt. He’s definitely someone who could talk a kid down in an emergency.”
- Someone saw the student enter the school campus with the gun had called 911, allowing for law enforcement to quickly arrive on the scene.
- From the Sheriff’s Department: “We have not confirmed that [bullying] was an issue at this point. But obviously something occurred for this student to come in with a shotgun… There had been a dialogue that’s critical between the victim and suspect before this morning.”
- There is normally an armed Taft Police Dept officer on campus who was not at school today.
- Reporters kept asking about an alleged “hit list” that the suspect had been suspended for last year. Authorities could not confirm that.
- Congressman McCarthy was asked whether he thought this would add fuel to a gun control push, but he said all the facts needed to be determined first.
More from the Bakersfield Californian.
Map of the area…
Update 12:15 p.m. 23ABC Bakersfield is reporting that one of the shooting victims was a student and one a teacher. A suspect is in custody as is the weapon allegedly used — a shotgun.
An update by the Sheriff’s Department is now scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Watch it here…
Two people were shot in Taft Union High School in Kern County around 9 a.m. Thursday morning.
Kern County sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt says a suspect is in custody and is believed to be a student.
Local station KGET reports that Kern County Fire officials say one victim received only minor injuries, and refused treatment, and the other was airlifted with unknown injuries. The Associated Press confirms that a wounded student was flown to a hospital in Bakersfield.
Several news organizations are reporting that the school is not yet secure. Police are going room-to-room and SWAT teams are evacuating students and faculty.
Pruitt says it’s believed a shotgun was used in the attack.
Taft is a community of about 7,000 some 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Taft Union High School had 935 students enrolled in 2010, and 64 faculty members.
A Huffington Post reporter says that the high school does have a deputy sheriff monitoring the campus normally.
Confirmed. Taft High School does have a uniform deputy sheriff monitoring campus "before, during and after school"
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) January 10, 2013
Here’s the Channel 23 report:
Officials have said that at least two people were shot at Taft High School.
The shooting happened at about 9 a.m., and reports indicate that at least two people were shot.
The shooter was taken into custody at about 9:20 a.m.
23ABC news received phone calls from people inside the school who were hiding in closets.
Kern County Sheriff’s Department officials are going room-by-room to secure the school.
Reports indicate that the first person shot was airlifted to Kern Medical Center and the second person denied medical treatment.
Parents need to pickup their students at the football field.