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. Dennis Manley

    I think starting with enforcing the laws, You chose to own any gun it should be in your posession at all times or locked up in a gun safe. If it is stollen then it should be reported. 2 amendment was to ensure that americans have a way of defending against an oppressive government and it ensures all americans the right to bare arms that are equivelent to those that would oppresse the citizens. the old saying you wouldn't take a knife to a gun fight, well that is the same you wouldn't take a pistol take a machine gun fight. I own guns but I keep my guns locked up at all times in less I carry it and because they are registered in my name not even my wife has access to my guns. That is the way I believe its suppose to be.

    January 10, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Atop

    I own guns, I also have young children that shoot them. There is a respect in shooting a firearm that has been instilled with my children. These shootings are due to a lack of caring of a human life. You want to blame the NRA? What is the President doing about the safety of the children? These shootings should be looked at as a terrorist act and dealt with the same way. But let's ban guns.

    January 10, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The_Truth

    Fix Broken homes. Broken families.

    Answer the question of WHY are these people so desperate why do they feel life is so important?

    Why do they feel that they have nothing to lose.

    How does society respond to those issues? Then, guns would be irrelevant.

    January 10, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. thedeviluknow

    The NRA will know what to do...

    January 11, 2013 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. ralph

    if the student pick out witch kids to shot then there must ben a somthing going on maybe he was pick on by the to it don't make it right for what he dd.

    January 11, 2013 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. Scottish Mama

    Cnn will not let me post anything, but they will let me post that they will not let me post. lol

    January 11, 2013 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. firstcauseproject

    Violence averted by way of nonviolence...imagine that...

    January 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. yared

    I'm anti gun, .and anti more gun laws. The only reason I'm anti gun laws is because of the logical anti gun people display.. you guys never make good arguments and seem to Fe3l confident the fight thing is the good guy. Plus antii gunners seem to not want to talk about The countries who gave u9 guns only to be backstabbed by they're government. I in good conscience. So i stay on the line of indecision up until i come and read anti gun posts.. and can you guys please stop repeating each other.

    January 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mr Dalloway

    We have become an extremely violent country. So very sad our children are witnesses and participants to what's going on in society. Vicious government vicious citizens.

    January 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. LA Blogger

    All has calmed down in California now.

    January 16, 2013 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. lablogger

    Thank God it's over.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. longsleeves

    Arm those Teachers !!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. under armour tactical

    Aw, this was a really good post. Finding the time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

    February 19, 2013 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
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