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. Steal Something, Lose A Hand

    Assault rifles are infinitely more deadly than shotguns, which is why they need to be banned.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chuck

    He used a shotgun

    so lets get rid of Assault weapons........huh?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steal Something, Lose A Hand

      Because shotguns are known for mowing down crowds by the dozens... nice logic.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Skeeter


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

    Hopefully the shooter was white, or else CNN is going to have to pull this story.

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

    Successful troll: check

    January 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chuck

    Look up Taft High School Shooting, and you will see there has been a previous shooting there,
    they were Latino Gang Members, but it didnt make the big news, because California hides its
    latino crime

    January 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      If you can look it up, it made the news. Seems you just want to put a racist slant on everything. Have fun at the cross burning tonight.

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

      If you were able to Google it, California is not doing a great job of hiding it.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      They hide it in Denver too. It's gotten to be a game, if the news media doesn't give a description it's almost code for hispanic. In fact a few years ago our then governor kept from the public that blacks were attacking whites in the downtown area.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • loverpoint

      What you say is very true. In Salinas CA there is always a high incidence of gun shootings. Every New Years, Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, Mexicans have to be told by the local media not to shoot off their guns in the air in celebration, they have to be reminded that the bullets that are fired up in the air must come down and when they do they can do a lot of damage, and cause injuries to people.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. gb333

    What a brave teacher.

    I hope the kid is okay. At least this isn't a senseless, mindless act. It reads like that kids specifically had a fight to pick with particular students.

    Goes to show that bullying should never be allowed.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Even if he did have a fight to pick, it was still senseless and mindless. Guns are not the answer to petty gripes.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. In Austin

    And it will keep happening, just get used to it.

    When will it be YOUR kid?

    Just get used to it, it will happen once every few months or so, just get used to it, more kids will die.

    There is nothing anyone can do, the cats out of the bag, there are so many guns around kids can get them one way or another.

    JUST GET USED TO IT, a sad commentary on our country as a whole.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • retphxfire

      Good point..kids will find guns, where these damaged kids are finding the guns is in their own homes. The guns were purchased legally by a 'law abiding citizen'. In fact, about all the mass shootings, not just schools, have been by people who had access or purchased 'legal' guns. What isn't needed is more guns in the hands of untrained and possibly unstable adults in schools, what is needed is a better regulation on the purchase of guns by certain members of our society and for those who HAVE guns to be more responsible about having them secured. The idea of my children being surrounded by guns of any kind, by anyone, is frightening. I have a million questions in my head..are the teachers and volunteer posse members being vetted for any history of anger, over-reacting, etc. It's all nuts.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. yan

    you sound like such a typical moronic american.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. guest

    Where are these kids getting the guns? Parents – if you have a gun in the home it is YOUR responsibility to keep it locked up. Your choice, your responsibility. Hold the parents accountable right along with their child. Maybe a family plan at the Crossbar Hotel.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lewis

      You hit the nail on the head. Why on earth would any parent allow their minor children to have access to guns. We need stricter penalties for parents who fail to secure their weapons.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. disgustedvet

    But,but,but,California has gun laws .

    January 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • krehator

      Laws don't work with people willing to break them. Some people cannot figure that out.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sane Person

      but ,but, he was stopped by an unarmed teacher! (See, I can do it too)

      January 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • causinascene

      Well, it looks like maybe they need to tighten their gun laws a little/lot more..get ready for it... here it comes.. buy your cabin in Idaho now, property up there is going fast. That is where people go to hide out and fight the Government isn't it?

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

    Angry kids are nothing new. Putting weapons in their hands, is apparently new.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pat Faherty

    Your mind is closed to new information and ideas. You are clinging to unrelated politics rather than truly thinking about how to reduce gun violence.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. A Jones

    You will hear the same nonsense "Guns don't kill, people kill people".

    January 10, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • krehator

      and will we hear the same nonsense that guns shoot by themselves, and criminals will obey gun laws?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom G.

      But a person did kill that other person.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • massbytes

      What more gun laws do you want than California. Here in Colorado it was reported a woman shot a home invader 5 times. Would you take the gun out of her hands?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tyler

    Drunk drivers killed an average of 27 people yesterday, and will today, and will tomorrow. Why doesn't this bias media cover this? oh wait...

    January 10, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Igor

      If we ban cars, there is no need for oil

      January 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
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