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. ChrisKey

    When are we going to address the first step in gun control?

    Responsible gun owners need to responsibly control access to their firearms. Gun locks accompany the purchase of all weapons and gun safes protect firearms from unauthorized access.

    My exwife had a .22 pistol in her home and ammunition that was not locked up. Her 13 year old neice proceeded to commit suicide with that weapon because it was not locked up.

    Bad people will find a way to do bad things, and people that want to do harm to others or themselves will find a way to do so, but as a gun owner it is my responsibility to protect myself and my weapons from falling into the wrong hands. You lock your car to protect it's contents so why not lock up your firearms? Then, possibly this 16 year old would not have had access to a shotgun and this would not have happened... nor would the tragedy in CT.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Exactly

      I'm all for that, and in this case, that would have probably prevented this occurance.. but we need to go a step further and regulate the kind of firepower that is accessible to anyone... kinds that are not needed or designed for personal protection, but are designed to eliminate as many enemies as possible in as short of a period of time as possible.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pprty

    Violent video games are viewed by kids in other countries too, but they don't have as easy access to guns.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Saul

    That is actually very creepy.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Penny Wright

    1.000.000 Americans have been killed by guns since 1960.

    Thanks NRA!

    January 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Chris Gates

      Over 1,000,000 children were aborted in 2012 alone.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mayberry No More

    Right, because the already in place "No Weapons allowed on premises" did a standing job of stopping someone from committing an evil act. Lets just take all the guns away, because that will solve the problem.. U have such great ideas..

    January 10, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John P. Tarver

    We need to do something about mentql health in this country and stop distracting from the problem with gun control demands.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • mcrusa

      Really? Death toll at Sandy Hook Elementary 27 – shooter has an assault rifle. Death toll at Taft Union High 0 – shooter has a shotgun.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Vijay

    If we don't act now, it will get worse, by then we would have lost quite bit of people. What is the big difference between Syrian killings and People killing people in USA? There are none, for me both are the same. For democracy Syrian rebels were fighting, who is here to fight against NRA here? None. Syrian's death count is around 70K, what about in USA with gun violence, 11 K per year if we multiply into 10 years it would be 110 K people, In the name of democracy we have so many shootings. Until we defeat NRA, there will not be freedom to people of this country. After that we will have 100 % democracy. now we are puppet of NRA's. This is my view about this.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • commonsenseMan

      and the you will just have knife attacks like in the UK does that really solve anything?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobpitt

      In the last 11 years
      killed by Bin Laden 3000
      killed in Iraq 4477
      Afghanistan 2162
      Total 9639

      Total killed by Americans 12000 a year
      11 years =130,000
      Math doesn’t lie..

      January 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ChrisKey

    Why not reduce the capacity of gas tanks in automobiles? Then druk drivers would run out of gas before they killed somebody... or better yet... limit the size of beer cans so people don't get so drunk!

    January 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John P. Tarver

    Assault rifles are designed to injure, instead of kill.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • scarf

      You must not be using it right.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • TEHb

      Those damn shotguns keep shooting at us.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John

    Well here we go about the guns again... Take them, or let us keep them. Just decide something quick so we can all move on with our lives about it

    January 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • mgdman

      Wait – she didn't have a gun and just start shooting?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Kids are complete idiots. I wonder if we can put a ring tone to that?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Get ready Grandma and Paw-Paw once your guns are gone there will be no deterrent for people breaking in and beating you up for your meds. I hope CNN will cover that and put pictures of these seniors as they're taken out of their homes feet first.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vandikar1

      They will, and They'll blame the NRA for that too.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • david

      Evidently, someone has already stolen your meds as you are clearly having a psychotic episode. What are you even talking about? Are you insane?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave Parker

    Hold the kid's parents responsible for allowing access to a firearm. I'm a gun owner and I secure what I own. Come-on gun owners, lock 'em up and restrict access. If you don't, your government will just take them all away a little bit at a time.

    And make sure your kids stop with the violent video games! This just teaches young males to solve their issues with guns and not their minds and words...

    January 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisKey

      Dave, I think you hit the nail on the head. This should have been the first response when all of the recent tragedy rekindled these debates. Lock Em Up!

      Oh, and if Piers Morgan doesn't like US Laws... go back to Europe and open up a job for a US Citizen! I would prefer to watch the Dave Parker Show! Dave you make better sense!

      January 10, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Dave, it's already a felony offense in California if your weapon is unsecured and is used in a crime, so I suspect that someone is in some trouble over this one. As bad as this shooting is, it does make the point that arming teachers is not necessarily the only or best way to deal with this type of situation....

      January 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John P. Tarver

    Taft is a City where there are very well off people and very poor people and not much in between.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andy

    More proof that limiting magazine size saves lives. With a shotgun this kid had 2 round at most. And guess what, Only 2 injuries. Had this been a AR15 many more would have died or been injured. So lets see the gun nuts claim how more rounds don't equal more death and damage.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • aaron

      Have you ever heard of a pump shotgun, or seen an action movie? They hold well more than 2 rounds.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rogue351

      2 rounds at most ? Read up on your shotguns. Almost all guns now days are avalible as a semi atuo.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sweetwalter

      Duh...and how do you know how many rounds he had in the gun? Were you there?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • cancerman48

      How do you figure his weapon "shotgun" only had the capability to hold two rounds. if this was a pump action or semi-auto it can hold up to six on some models in the tube. Plus someone skilled with a shotgun can reload extra shells into the tube without removing the "shotgun" from Battery i.e. your shoulder.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Typical behavior for the last 3 generations of "Time Out" punishment and parents buying them cars, computers, cell phones without them being earned, and then providing them free room and board for years and years afterwards. Guns have been around for a long time. What is changed is how children are now raised.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
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