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. df23

    Another one....NRA, how many deaths and injuries will it take?!

    January 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • mpouxesas

      Your question is only rhetorical. They don't care about how many die. They care about how many guns they sell. I know I know, the NRA does not sell guns, but hey, it's the mouthpiece of weapons manufacturers....

      January 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • df23

      Yeah, I know. It's a useless question. Maybe the NRA can use its power and influence to stop the senseless killings, but i doubt it. Especially if there's money involved.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • accuratereporting

      Tell that to the 50,000+ children that died in the U.S./Iraq war... Where is their justice? You think your government cares about them? Think about it...

      January 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • hmmm

      California has some of the stricktest gun laws! Stop blamming the guns and the NRA for the act of evil and mentally ill individuals!

      January 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      It was a GANG shooting from HISPANIC gangs. Maybe think about securing the border before taking away my second amendment. Dip shiiits like you would have us give up our right but aparently dont think its no biggie to have south american cartels walk across the southern border with RPGs, Morters and Land mines. Notice how CNN (your only news source) never mentions the landmines they found around a pot grow in Yosemite? As for your "oh stop the deaths!!" We are going to ban alcohol right? Because alcohol related child deaths are 10x that of gun deaths....but Im guessing your against that since you probably are a heavy drinker.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juliob

      He used a shotgun...are we going to start screaming about banning those now too?

      January 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • LogicalThinker

      Speaking from a marketing viewpoint only, the NRA stance of more guns in the hands of more people is moved along smartly the more such attacks happen. Fomenting fear makes for more gun sales, so it is not in the best interest of the weapons manufacturers who support the NRA to move to reduce such attacks. If they do nothing and let the public buy more weapons, that works for them.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      This was a shotgun not an AR-15 but a 5-shot pump can get off 5 pretty quick rounds. Wonder if there was a resource officer on campus. My guess is that this student must have worn a trench coat of some kind to hide the shotgun. These types of weapons do not need permits.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mayberry No More

      Jumping the 'gun' wouldn't you say.. the article didn't meantion that anyone died. And what does the NRA have to do with this situation anyways. Why are you blaming someone who has no involvment in this situation? You make no sense.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moose

      Where are the parents?? or in most cases now (parent) you need to look at the real problem its called LACK OF PARENTING. If society deems it okay for kids to be raised by underpaid daycare workers and teachers expect more of the same. This is what you all voted for so now live with it. Back in my day we went to high school left our rifles in the car and hunted after,,, WHERE ARE THE PARENTS OF ALL THESE KIDS???????

      January 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      That was beautiful rhetoric. Obviously the NRA is being funded by gun manufacturers and is only interested in profit and death. The millions of NRA members paying dues has nothing to do with it.

      About 50% of americans own guns. If it's the guns that do the killing, why are there people left that don't own them? You would think a massacre would ensue, killing the other 50% of americans.

      Your logic is flawed.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moose

      WHERE are the parents ??? How about you raise your kids. Quit shoving them off on someone else. Thier should be a BACKGROUND CHECK TO SEE IF YOU CAN HAVE KIDS, Parents quit blamming everyone but yourself

      January 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mpouxesas

    Now, if they only had an armed person at the door to ...greet the intruder huh?

    January 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • MBAman

      That could have helped . . . . There was a guy who produced videos for pro gun groups and owned many guns, who was just killed I believe today or yestrday who was found with multiple guns around him and it didn't save him. Are your chances better? . . . .I would say so. But it is not as easy as paper vs scissors.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Woody Bass

    How many more is it gonna take before we wake the hell up?

    January 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • accuratereporting

      Like the U.S./Iraq war killing over 50,000 children? Sure... Makes sense to me.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck D.

      What are all you people so riled up about? On an average day in the US, around 5,000 innocent children are murdered by their own mothers with the assistance of doctors. Why don't you do something about that if you care about children so much?


      January 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mayberry No More

      Not sure what your point is here. Wake up to what? That evil truly exist? Murder happens everyday. Not quite sure why when the act is carried out with a 'GUN' it carries more weight.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Wake up and do what?

      January 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ChristmasEve

    OMG! Not again?? I*m so scared!!! Why is this happening so much?? God help us all and protect us from violent people with mental illnesses.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • It happens

      Histeria ensues because you idiots sensationalize everything.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChristmasEve

      To that "It happens" person.. uhhh I*m so sorry if you*re offended but this is happening way more often now. So you*re not even a little bit scared ? I am! Why are you offended that I*m scared? sorry!


      January 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boo

      It Happens....THE WORD IS HYSTERIA.....

      January 10, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cretin

      If you use the term "OMG", then something tells me you're either a teenage girl or a drama queen/king. Calm down, sit down, and use that pink mush in your skull (aka, the brain).

      January 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChristmasEve

      Well, close! I*m not a teenager anymore but that wasn*t long ago. But I*m not a drama queen. Really, I*m just scared. I*m not like hysterical or anything but I *really* hope shootings don*t keep happening more and more often. I should have kept my comments to myself. I*m sorry!

      OH yeah, uhh it*s not just me! My friend Ariel is scared too! So yeah.


      January 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mayberry No More

      evil is now mental illness? Oh boy, our world is riddled with the mentally ill! What ever will we do?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      You're scared because you feel helpless. You feel helpless because you know that you won't be able to defend yourself if someone comes for you.

      Perhaps you should become a stronger person.

      Fear can serve the purpose of self preservation. Hysteria serves no purpose.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cisco

    seems like a good trend for the NRA, that's what they want, more guns out there

    January 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mayberry No More

      What do you mean? There were NO GUNS out there.. remember, it was a Gun Free Zone. Thats what the American people wanted. NO GUNS ON THE SITE. NOT ALLOWED. Shootings occur in places where guns are not permitted. Hospitals, (Birmingham Alabama) Courthouses (Atlanta) Malls (Many places) Movie Theatres (Colorado) and schools. Also strange how the areas where gun control laws are the strictest, there's more violence. Gee, I can't figure this one out! Maybe we should just take EVERYONES guns away, that will solve the problem of evil and we can live back in a Mabyerry society.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Politicians have armed guards, Hollywood has armed guards, banks have armed guards.
      We put armed guards around what we want to protect. Why are you so against protecting children?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Terry C Leggans

    Yeap those damn guns are killing us....take away the guns and all violence just goes away...ask a Jew in Nazi Germany how that worked for them.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cisco

      i can ask all the jews leaving in current europe, they seem ok, i mean, how often do i hear school shootings happening in EU? maybe 1 in 1000 in the US? have fun seeing your children get shoot while learning

      January 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boo

      You NRA zombies are so desperate, you will bring up the lamest stupidest analogies.....like lets ban cars.....I think the collective IQ of all of you is that of a spatula.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      CIsco Europe had more school shootings in the last 10 years than America did in the last 10 years. Just because you "didnt hear of it" doesnt mean it didnt happen. 2010 guy in england blasted 15 people hurt 20 more...but oh wait England has a BAN on guns. Norway anyone? Guy killed 70 people.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cdo7

      and you gun haters will use every excuse to link guns to violence... don't be a hippo dude I could k1ll you with my spatula if i really wanted to... but i dont because im an educated and respectful individual who knows right from wrong

      January 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TheLocNar

    And as an FYI, Taft has a uniformed deputy sheriff monitoring the campus before, during, and after school hours.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Anthony

    "If we had more guns in the schools this would not happen." – NRA

    Absolutely moronic.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mayberry No More

      Yeah, what an idiot ... I mean, there were no guns here but the stupid safety officer that ? well we don't know what his involvment was yet. I mean, this was a Gun Free Zone.. The law really stopped this from happeneing didn't it. Something must be done immediatly. I bet you would make a good school safety officer because this really concerns you. I mean you seem to be an expert in the matter, so your solution would work right? Okay bub, Keep up the good work.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob

    CA has the strictest gun laws in the nation. High capacity magazine ban, assault weapons ban, gun can't accept more than 10 rounds.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Atlahua

      And only one injury... maybe the laws in Cali are effective?

      January 10, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mayberry No More

      TO: Atlahua
      Uh, duh, the law was that GUNS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON SCHOOL PROPERTY.. hmm, that didn't stop the shooting, and maybe the person only had the intentions of shooting one person. Geesh, you must have forgotten about that one.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      That area of CA is a cesspool. I'd bet money that this was gang related.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. brian

    In answer to the other comments, this will probably never stop happening. This country has taken that stupid ammendment too far and short of a civil war, citizens will not give up their right to bear arms, and since parents with guns don't know how to safeguard their kids from their garbage guns.

    Stop blaming media, video games, and movies, and PARENTS, START TAKING SOME DAMN ACCOUNTABILITY FOR YOUR FAILINGS. STOP blaming everyone but yourselves, because YOU are to blame.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • CW

      Stupid amendment? What a pathetic, uninformed statement. You must like tyranny. I am guessing you are an Obamabot.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gilgamesh

    Yeah, California really needs to tighten those gun laws. /sarcasm

    In all seriousness, the main instigator of this shootings is the media coverage that previous ones get. If the media would just refrain from giving the name and face of the killer I'd bet these incidents would drop away quickly. These disturbed people just want to be remembered for something before they die. 50 years ago they would have just killed themselves.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dave

    This is Wayne LaPierre speaking. There's nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Everything is fine...just fine..NOTHING in the country regarding guns needs to be changed EVERYTHING is JUST FINE like it is....

    January 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Boo

    Okay NRA zombies – what does it take for you to get that THIS HAS TO END?

    January 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moose

      How about a little PARENTING hold the parents responable for thier mutts, YOU BREED THEM< they are your resposability not the schools, not daycrae not welfare, if you cant afford them dont have them!!!

      January 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Explain to me how banning guns would save lives, please.

      This kid was after 2 people. He could have easily killed them with a knife or a bat.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Han

      It would be hard to kill someone with a knife or a bat inside a classroom where everyone can stop you.

      Now with a shotgun it was different, the only ways to stop him was to kill him with a gun or talk him into giving up his own gun. I'm glad it was the latter. He is a young man who still has a future. We shouldn't just kill anybody who made a mistake with a weapon.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Ban shotguns too?

      Your "fear" needs to end.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Duane Wallmark

    Gun control: Too little too late.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. God sent us the TeaParty

    If The Lord didn't want us to have guns, they why do we still have guns?
    Because our right to bear arms is God's Will.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |

      If God condemned killing, then explain the Great Flood to the idiot Christians.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      If God didn't want us to stone to death those guilty of adultery, he would have done away with stones. Praise the lord. 🙂

      January 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duane Wallmark

      So you're saying that it was god's will for those elementary school children to be shot and killed?? If that's what your god teaches then I'm glad to be an atheist! You are one twisted individual!!

      January 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • grannylady

      The utter stupidity in the twisted logic of this person's remark is staggering! I don't know what Bible he is reading..or if he goes to any church that teaches things like this. It actually makes no sense, whether you believe in God or not.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      "Thoy shalt not kill", sound familiar?

      January 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      To Legalize It Already..........There were no Chrisitians at the time of the great flood. It was after the flood that God promised not to destroy man again.
      and to you and Portland tony – read the Bible and learn something. Satan is the ruler of this world. God only protects believers. Non-believers are under the realm of satan.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maxxbna

      grannylady, the God I know doesn't condemn killing. This poster is no Christian, trust me.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • james pfeiffer

      There is absolutely no mystery as to why this country is in so much trouble. The inexplicable stupidity of the above statement is the perfect example of just how crazy we have become. Logic, compassion and common sense have become the intellectual dinosaurs of a society in the throes of mental bankruptcy.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck D.

      You all realize that this guy is trolling you, right?

      January 10, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jinx88

      God owned a ak-47 assualt weapon first of its kind.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • flabbergasted

      If God didn't want us to worship Jesus, then there wouldn't be bibles around.
      If God didn't want us to worship Islam, then there wouldn't be Korans around.
      If God didn't want us to worship Yahweh, then there wouldn't be Torahs around.
      If God didn't want us to disbelieve in him, then there wouldn't be any writings questioning him.

      You know...or perhaps your argument just doesn't make sense.

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