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. No one

    Curious that he used a shotgun, I guess we'll have to see how the victim does. Unpleasant news, but not quite catastrophic.

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

      I sure there would of been more dead and wounded if he had an assault weapon with 100 ammo clip!

      January 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      How do you know that? Why do people think this person had the same mental disposition as the other guy?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sick Rantorum

    Less than 3 hours ago, on another story, I was praising America for being well on it's way to having an entire week without a school or movie theater shooting. Looks like I was a little premature.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jonathan

    Why can't the government tell you what kind of weapons you're allowed to own? We try to tell other sovereign nations all the time which ones they can own. And then we start a war over the possibility of that sovereign nation possibly having some weapon(s).

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

      And how well is that working? They keep telling North Korea and Iran what they cant have and they keep developing. How have relations improved with those countries as we continue to tell them what they can or cant do? They love us right?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonathan

      So you agree we shouldn't be getting involved in other countries' business?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Iñigo Montoya

    Yes, lets have muzzle loaders! that way the criminals will really take over the country, great idea! Idiot.

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

      Yes because before we had assault rifles all nations were embroiled in total war and chaos all the time. We couldn't possibly, say, fight off the British empire with those.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bill Thompson III

    Well I dont think limiting AR15s is a big deal just like banning rocket launchers. Hell I cant afford one anyway but you will still have psychos. They can run a car into a crowd or do like the muslims do.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Carl

    Show me your well regulated militia and I'll show you your right to bear arms.

    Also, we need to give kids back their first amendment rights to free speech in school (and maybe end grading).

    If it's easier to get your hands on a shotgun than a can of spray paint, which are you probably going to use to express yourself when you're feeling upset?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Looper

    "What this teacher did was heroic," U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy Said. O please nothing heroic here. Beside this sound like a kid getting revenge at the 2 that were picking on him.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Stop knee jerk policy

    So many a latching to the X killed in 30 secs. With a simple combination of Gasoline and a the appropriate container and ignition you could kill many more even faster. So we should definitely ban gasoline. Do it for the children!

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

      Uh... do you even realize how harder it would be to bring a large gasoline container into a school unnoticed, let alone keeping everyone still while you douse them in gasoline?

      NOTHING available to the average citizen kills as quickly, effectively, and massively as powerful guns. It's the whole reason we, you know, take guns to war, not gasoline canisters. Duh.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Looper

      Stupid comment by a stupid person

      January 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RL

    Why isnt it a cnn story when a kid gets shot on the streets of philly, chicago or LA?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Junior

      Are they white kids? If so, reporters are on the way now

      January 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chris May

    Another incident for the gun hungry to ignore. Another potential disaster because Americans don't know how to take control of this situation. Shame on you; shame on you all. Your toys are more important than the lives of your children. That from the most "sophisticated" society in the world. LOL...what a joke you are.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • anchorite

      That's right. Guns are purely a rich man's hobby. They don't care how many children die as long as they can feel like a real man shooting wolves from helicopters and preparing to be left behind in the rapture.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Faisal

    "how many more shootings must there be in America before we come to the realization that guns and grievances do not belong together?"

    say that to the people we kill over seas every day.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • anchorite

      You've got a good point. How many of these kids are motivated by the example of their parents using real guns to kill real people to solve their problems every day? Probably more than are motivated by cartoon guns fake killing cartoon villains.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dsangiovanni

    Lets give all them (teachers, students,) guns and see what happens....

    January 10, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      It won't be pretty...you think the death toll is high now....

      January 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • bilbo baggins

      im assuming it be like call of duty. how do you miss someone with a shotgun... should of used a modified choke....

      January 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      What is the dumbest thing is nothing at all is being done at the schools right now! What are they doing? Waiting on a ban of lawful citizens to turn in their guns in and wait for the criminals to finally run out of ammo before they figure out we need guards there now?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jinx88

    NRA wants more people to have and carry guns because that means more memberships and more money for the weird CEO guy. People are just to stupid to realize it. Fact!!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. IceMan

    Anger + Firearm = Trouble

    January 10, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. UHhello

    How ever did that teacher stop the crazy kid with a gun without shooting him with her own gun? May be the school should have had an armed gard spraying bullets in to the class room to "protect" the students? The NRA = KKK they have one agenda defending outdated modes of thinking.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • YoungMarine

      Really the kkk? Since when has the NRA killed people because of race?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
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