Police: Teen shot 1 classmate, missed another in California high school
Police officers were called to the school at about 9 a.m. local time Thursday.
January 10th, 2013
09:15 PM ET

Police: Teen shot 1 classmate, missed another in California high school

  • Student, 16, walked into class late and fired at two classmates with 12-gauge shotgun, critically wounding one and missing the other at Taft (California) Union High School on Thursday morning, police say
  • Teacher was struck in head with pellet, but is OK, sheriff says
  • Police: Suspect put gun down after teacher and "campus supervisor" talked to him; wounded student airlifted to hospital

[Updated at 7:09 p.m. ET] An armed police officer is assigned to the school but he wasn't at the school at the time of the shooting because snowfall in the area prevented his arrival, authorities said.

[Updated at 7:03 p.m. ET] A mother of a student witness recalls the moment that her daughter called her after the shooting: "She was telling me, 'Mom, get here, there’s blood everywhere," the woman CNN affiliate KERO.

[Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET] Here's more quotes from Kern County Sheriff Don Youngblood, from the news conference earlier this afternoon, about the teacher and the campus supervisor who apparently talked the suspect into dropping his weapon:

“When (the teacher) started a dialogue, the shotgun, he said, was pointed in several different directions. He is unsure how many rounds were fired … . He said as the dialogue started with him and the campus supervisor, who was just outside the room, the student was still armed with the shotgun. They, I think, probably distracted him in a conversation, allowing students to get out of the classroom and ultimately talking the student down.”

Youngblood added: "To stand there and face someone that has a shotgun who has already discharged it and shot a student speaks volumes for these two young men, and what they may have prevented. They could have just as easily tried to get out of the classroom and left students, and they didn't. They knew not to let him leave that classroom with that shotgun, and they took that responsibility on very serious, and we're very proud of the job they did."

The school district's superintendent told reporters that the school's staff had just reviewed lockdown procedures earlier Thursday morning.

[Updated at 5:42 p.m. ET] The news conference ended more than an hour ago, but we wanted to give you some longer quotes from officials about how a teacher and a "campus supervisor" - a campus monitor on the school's staff - talked to the suspect until, authorities say, the suspect put down the weapon.

After the suspect shot one student and missed another, "the teacher at that point was trying to get the students out of the classroom and engaged the shooter who had numerous rounds of shotgun shells … in his pockets engaged the suspect in conversation," Kern County Sheriff Don Youngblood said.

“A campus supervisor showed up, was outside the classroom, and together they engaged in conversation with this young man, and at one point he put the shotgun down, and police officers were able to take him into custody,” Youngblood said.

Here's what Taft Police Chief Ed Whiting said about the teacher and the campus supervisor:

"We want to really commend the teacher and a campus supervisor for all they did to bring this to a very quick resolution before anybody else was harmed. ... They did a great job in protecting the kids, and we can't thank them enough for what they did today."

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, whose district includes Taft, also praised the teacher.

"I first want to commend the teacher. I think he saved many lives today. His actions, his time, his ability of what he did (to) protect the students there," McCarthy said.

McCarthy also praised law enforcement for responding quickly. Youngblood said Taft police officers were at the school within 60 seconds of a 911 call.

[Updated at 4:46 p.m. ET] Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in a 2011 shooting during an appearance in her home district in Arizona, made this comment on her Facebook page about Thursday's high school shooting:

"(My husband) Mark and I are saddened by the news out of California. Our thoughts and prayers are with the students and
families of Taft Union High School."

[Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET] U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, released this statement about Thursday morning's shooting:

"Today comes word of another tragic shooting at an American school. I have visited this school over the years-in fact, my own father attended Taft Union.

"At this moment my thoughts and prayers are with the victims, and I wish them a speedy recovery. But how many more shootings must there be in America before we come to the realization that guns and grievances do not belong together?"

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET] "What this teacher did was heroic," U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, whose district includes Taft, tells reporters at a news conference there.

[Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET] Classes are expected to resume on Monday, an official said at a news conference in Taft.

[Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET] The teacher apparently was struck in the head by a pellet, but appeared fine, Kern County Sheriff Don Youngblood told reporters.

Besides the student who was shot, a second student suffering possible hearing damage because the gun was fired close to her also was taken to a hospital, Youngblood said.

A third student sustained minor injuries when she "fell over the tables" trying to leave the classroom, Youngblood said.

[Updated at 3:41 p.m. ET] The 16-year-old suspect a student who missed the start of his first class Thursday morning walked into school in the middle of first period, walked into class and shot a 16-year-old fellow student with a 12-gauge shotgun, Kern County Sheriff Don Youngblood told reporters moments ago.

The shooter then said the name of a second student and fired at that second student, but missed, Youngblood said. The teacher in the class tried to usher students out of the class there were about 28 students there and engaged the shooter in conversation, according to Youngblood.

That teacher and another person a "campus supervisor" continued to talk to the shooter, and eventually the shooter put the shotgun down, Youngblood said. Police officers then arrested the shooter, Youngblood said.

The student who was shot was taken to a hospital and is in critical condition, according to Youngblood.

[Updated at 3:07 p.m. ET] Officials are preparing to allow the school's students to leave the property and connect with their parents, many of whom have gathered there, CNN's Kyung Lah reports from the scene.

[Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET] Ray Pruitt of the Kern County Sheriff's Office says he doesn't know whether there was any relationship or connection between the shooter and the victim.

[Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET] U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican whose district includes Taft, released a statement:

"I am deeply saddened and troubled by news of the shooting," it said. "(My wife) Judy and I offer our prayers to the victims, their families and the entire Taft community."

[Updated at 2:19 p.m. ET] A student shot another student with a shotgun Thursday morning at a Southern California high school, said Ray Pruitt of the Kern County Sheriff's Department.

The shooting happened in the science building at Taft (California) Union High School near Bakersfield, Pruitt said. The wounded student was airlifted to a hospital, and a suspect is in custody, he said.

Earlier, the county's fire department said two people were hurt, though it also said the second injured person had "minor" injuries and refused medical treatment.

Details of what led to the shooting weren't immediately available. Pruitt said he didn't know whether the shooting happened in a classroom. Law enforcement officers were going through the school to "make sure we don't have suspects outstanding," Pruitt said.

Taft is about 25 miles southwest of Bakersfield and 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

[Initial post, 2:03 p.m. ET] Two people are hurt and a suspect is in custody following a shooting Thursday morning at a California high school, officials say.

The shooting happened at Taft (California) High School near Bakersfield, the Kern County Fire Department says. One person was transported to a medical center, and a second person who is said to have suffered minor injuries refused medical treatment, according to the fire department.

Kern County Sheriff's Department officials were going room-by-room to secure the school, according to CNN affiliate KERO.

Students at the high school "have been evacuated to another area of the campus," the fire department said on its Facebook page.

For more on this story, go to KERO.

soundoff (888 Responses)
  1. CLOWN

    What if the perpetrators have assault rifles, think your little hand gun will save everybody then ?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. The_Truth

    Children killing children in school. Guns are not the problem or the solution.

    Its been happening in the ghetto for many years and nobody cared. Now its made its way to small town America.

    It's what happens when the minority culture and mentality erodes American culture.

    America for Americans

    January 10, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • toldUso

      Take your racism elsewhere.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sven

      What are you saying here? The shooter wasn't American? What do you mean about "minority culture"? Aren't you running late for your Klan meeting?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • well

      What do you expect. Do your really expect anyone to care about shootings in the ghetto, if they don't live in the ghetto?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Davis

      The minority culture is not nearly as offensive as the minority mentality. Of course, you would be white. And if you haven't noticed, it only the white males doing this...

      January 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyla

      Actually The_Truth black schools are a lot safer because there is a police present in the schools. Also, you have probably on one occasion heard of a school shooting at a black school, because school shooting don't happen in the urban areas.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      hey truth, it's not the 'minority culture'... they are just the ones most commonly victimized by it due to their tragically lower economic status in many cases. so-called 'white trash' subscribes to similar ideas as well. clear the tunnel vision, son. oh, other than a few incidents, how often are these acts perpetrated by minorities anyway? are you implying that the majority is so dumb that they can be influenced to this extent by your straw man implication of 'minority culture'? for the record, I don't think further gun control will do ANYTHING to fix this, but you are making it harder for the rest of us with your pathetic attempts at attributing this to race.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sven

    1 wounded, 0 killed
    Funny how non-automatic weapons result in lower body counts. Also funny how the talking-point "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" turns out to be completely FALSE.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jake

      None of the recent shootings have involved automatic weapons.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • txlady706

      Tell this to the lady who killed a home invader and SAVED herself and her 3 kids.
      Guns are tools.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ding

      You know what else would lower body counts? People who don't shoot people.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      Couldn't agree more. Just proves that less guns and less guns that can do more harm is the right solution.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      It's not false. You think someone was going to talk Lanza out of what he was doing? Different story here. I grantee you a shotgun with the correct ammo would do a hell of a lot more damage to someone than a .223 caliber bullet. Especially at close range. Luckily he probably only had bird shot for hunting small game.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      yes sven. an idea is proven completely false from just one example. so, cuba being the only truly communist regime left PROVES that communism works perfectly, right? or that a lottery winner PROVES that everyone wins eventually... or that a shark attack victim PROVES that everyone swimming in the ocean will be shark snacks eventually... come on man.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Repeal the 2nd Amendment

    Imagine that, a teacher talked down the shooter without being armed. Checkmate, NRA!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Libertarian

      While we are at it how about the 1st, 4th, 5th, 13th, 15th, and 19th? As they are not really there to protect anyone.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      How did the negotionations go in the last shooting? You argument is so full of holes it's pointless arguing with you.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      So this isolated incident per you means this is how it will happen every time a situation similar to this happens. Wow, it's apparent that when it comes to critical thinking...you're lacking in that department.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Repeal the 2nd Amendment

      Gee Libertarian, it seems that john cash already thinks the 1st Amendment applies only to people that agree with him. Hey jc, I'll speak whenever I please. If you can't handle it, then go away, m'kay?

      Ain't that America, little pink houses for you and me.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Smith

      Repeal the 2nd amendment is correct! It's not 1792 anymore. Tyranny is not a problem in this country.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      @ mark: of course tyranny is not a problem in this country. it wasn't when we earned our independence either. it is the POTENTIAL! That is the reason for the 2nd amendment, and to repeal it would be the end of a key point of our foundation. keep the guns from the crazies and felons, yes. Take them from everyone? are you mad?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Repeal the 2nd Amendment

      Well, Matt and Rick. Seems to me that the NRA constantly tells us that mass shootings and school shootings are isolated incidents within the scope of the USA's gun culture, don't they?

      Hmmmm, john cash's attack response to me has disappeared. Wonder why? Violation of CNN's ToS?

      Spot on, Mark!

      Ain't that America, little pink houses for you and me.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. geeworker

    so what are we going to do with this 16 year old who took a shotgun onto school grounds and shot a fellow student?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fritz Hohenheim

      Put him to trial, thats why we have courts. We change the laws for every incident that ever took place? Use the laws we have.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gregory Faith

    Here we go again!!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pi

      MOST IMP –> IMMEDIATELY BAN GUNS
      Listen to those stupid gun supporter arguments later.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blog_Mediator

      Let's first ban guns from movies and video games! It is absurd that our young are growing up surrounded by violence in their bedrooms and living rooms. It doesn't take any long-drawn out studies to conclude that this type of exposure is detrimental to their social development!

      January 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. B. Gabriel

    It would be nice to have police, constables and any other law enforcement to stage at schools instead of driving around and waiting for the next call. Just having them there MIGHT work and MIGHT not. But we need a quick fix to this problem now!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • lol

      Taft HS has had officers for years like back in the 80's, But don't let those NRA fools make you believe and a good gun is needed. Only a smart person is.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. joru100

    In other news thousands of kids were stabbed and threatened with knives today, but it doesn't matter because only gun violence is bad, other forms of violence are tolerable.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nick

      So you're one of those "alcohol is legal, might as well make heroin legal" folks?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • toldUso

      Yes, literally thousands of kids. Some were independently assaulted with knives TWICE today.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stabby

      "In other news, students with knives were able to wound a handful of other students; no fatalities reported. A student with a high powered rifle was able to wound and kill several in a matter of minutes. LOL GUNS NO KILL PEEPLZ."

      January 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • burbanktj

      I'd much rather have someone pull a knife on me than a gun.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rick

    Religious beliefs have killed more people then guns ever will. Ban Religion!
    Better idea would to actually put decent security detterents in schools, how does a kid bring a 3 foot long shotgun into a school without anyone noticing? I'm mean seriously? I can't even board a plane without being searched, if you idiots care about kids so much I would imagine something like metal detectors, magnetically locked doors and bullet proof glass in window being placed in the school wouldve prevented this...

    January 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Exactly

      I'm down with banning religion...

      January 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. pl

    Easy access to guns..Parents should be held criminally responsible.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • txlady706

      obviously, you have no children

      January 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mo

    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." ~Thomas Jefferson

    Just because some mind controlled (deranged) individuals used guns to harm others... does not mean that we should all be punished for their actions!!

    As an individual who knows these "rights" – "not privileges or permissions"

    A "right" is exactly that... no matter WHO tries to tell you it`s a "wrong!"

    January 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ding

      Jefferson didn't say that by the way...

      January 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • volks

      Just someone else's opinion.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sabrina

      Here's a quote: "Branas's study found that people who carried guns were 4.5 times as likely to be shot and 4.2 times as likely to get killed compared with unarmed citizens. When the team looked at shootings in which victims had a chance to defend themselves, their odds of getting shot were even higher."
      and another: "The 2nd Amendment is very important, because you need to have a gun to protect yourself against everyone else who has a gun due to 2nd amendment" -Chris James

      January 10, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JEFF

    NRA

    January 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. izandro

    does frenchie lapierre know that someone talked a gunman down from killing and didn't use a gun

    January 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ding

      So how come this "talking" method was used at the school, the movie theater, the mall, etc...

      January 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. God loves guns

    We need the executive order to ban guns and GOPs.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Libertarian

      and while we are at it how about putting yellow stars on their chest?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Via Blanca

      So you approve of a dictatorship? How much do you want to bet this kid like the others is on some anti- depressant. Lets have a real discussion and include everything

      January 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Katie

    Thank God he only had a shotgun instead of an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. Think how many people he could have killed had he gotten his hands on one of those.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Obviously you know nothing about guns. 1st. A double 00 shell is like ten 9mm bullets. It would shred a classroom in seconds. And, shotguns don't jam as much as rifles with extended magazines. 2nd, there are barely any legal automatic firearms on the streets right now. The bans made sure of that. Now, you need to register for a class 3 licence(which is a PIA) before spending a couple grand on a firearm made before 1986. Why don't you preach your crap somewhere else?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Voice of Reason

      A shotgun is more powerful and deadly than any semi-automatic and most automatic weapon.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Exactly

      This. and this is why stronger gun control is needed. Also, this kid should not have had unsupervised access to this shotgun even... but yes, things like this can happen, but it could have been much worse if he had something that could unleash a higher rate of fire with more lethal loads.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      That would be about the same number, shotgun is actually more powerful at close range then any rifle and unless that guy was affiliated with some gang there is no way he could have had automatic weapon, also don't we all forget that it happened in CA with one of the strictest gun laws in the country, doesn't seem they are working very good if anyone can just walk in to the school with a shotgun

      January 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
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