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. Concerned

    As mentioned by ohters, the issue is regulate further not ban guns. Like everything else we regulate (e.g. car safety, wear seat belts, etc.), it will never prevent all bad things from happening but will over a decade of two of efforts reduce the suffering and deaths. Now it's that worth doing?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nodack

      Quit making sense! That won't be tolerated here.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steve Wilson, Canada

    For all it's worth, here is an observation from a concerned Canadian, an "outsider."

    I cannot believe just HOW much the line is drawn between right and left in your country. It seems that no matter WHAT happens, immediatley, it's about "the liberals" or the "conservatives." I mean a kid could drown in a swimming pool somewhere and it would be the fault of one side or the other... unbelievable.

    Until you Americans wake the hell up and stop fighting amongst yourselves, you'll never get anywhere and gun violence will continue as it is now. You're supposed to be ONE country – you're supposed to ALL be Americans. STOP fighting and START talking.

    We have the right vs left thing up here too, but NOTHING like what it is in your country. If you don't somehow figure out at least SOME compromise, you'll end up in a civil war all over again. And, frankly, the rest of the world wouldn't be surpised at all.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fernando

      Yeah, but you don't understand. The other side is totally wrong here.

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

      Allow FOX News into your country and see if it stays that way. Their goal is to promote the division between the two sides and they represent the right wing conservative view. FOX News is the most popular news station in the US and anybody that watches that station is programmed to consider all Americans that vote Democrat to be the enemy.

      Take the Bengazi thing for example. Terrorists attacked our embassy in Libya. Who do Republicans blame? Certainly not the terrorists. They could care less whether we catch them or not. They only care about turning it into a scandal to hurt Democrats.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris ferguson

      Run for President here in the USA and I will vote for you! We need to make drastic changes here.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hoser

      You guys up there have that rift with Quebec, right? Or have you resolved that one yet?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Len

      .Large country -> Lot of people -> Lot of Opinions -> A few who cannot compromise . Please do not jump on the bandwagon and just criticize america for never compromising in a population of 311 million it's hard to just agree compared to 34 million in canada.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sam

    So the teacher was not armed and a life was safe. Had it been the other ways round, who know how many lives would have been affected from the gun fight.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lmc11

    Newslfash!!! Today Obama signed the “Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012” giving him LIFETIME secret service protection. The law applies to President Bush, President Obama and any future presidents. So while he is trying to take away our potection he is making sure that he is protected by our funds and guns for life!!! Stand up people and NEVER NEVER NEVER give up your guns.

    Please spread the word because CNN will never print this story!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • joan

      As far as I know past presidents have had Secret Service protection for quite a few years now. this is nothing new.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Muri

      Interesting tidbit, they all do it, always have, and always will.

      Do you honestly think only the Liberals get top of the line healthcare for free...is it only the liberals that get the tax break for life or only the liberals that continue to collect $$ after their term is completed?

      If you answered yes to any of those, your issue is obvious.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in Dallas

      Um, this bill was introduced by a Republican (Rep. Gowdy, Trey [R-SC-4]) on 11/30/2012; it passed the Republican controlled House by voice vote, was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate and was sent to the President for his signature. What part of this "Obama is taking away your guns while adding extra protection for himself" feigned outrage are you following now? Are the soldiers back from the War on Christmas already?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Biker

      In 1965 congress passed a law that said ex-presidents get SS protection for life. That was changed in 1997 to that ex-presidents only get ten years of SS protection. Now Obama has changed that back to what it use to be. These are men that have the secrets of our country, and even an old secret could do damage. Before you start trolling and spreading misinformation do some research and come to a sound conclusion.... or at least call yourself an American news agency.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tony

    I love the great defensive capability of carrying heat. That's why all the soldiers who went to WW I and II came back alive and unwounded. . . . . . . . . . The other 10 Million must have been all the bad guys.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. alfranken

    This is not a gun issue but rather one of many symptoms of the decay of our environment. People are angry, they've lost their homes, jobs, can't afford health insurance,.... divorces ... it affects our students. Every time it's either about mental illlness, broken families, or loss of job.

    a revolt is imminent

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

      Gun shoots man- California 2012. Man shot dead while trying to lift his gun out of his pick-up truck.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. UHhello

    Relax Rambo! There will be lots of legislation introduced and their will be discussion I hope honest and frank discussion and a compromise probably including back ground checks, gun show loop hole removal, large capacity magazines and that hurts NO BODY and does absolutely nothing to our 2nd Ammendment rights.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    Why does a 16 year old have a shotgun?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1doctor

      HA Ha... well thar ya go now. Those of us livin in the south...honey boo boo country... get huntin rifles for our 6th birthdays...yeeeee haw!!! Yep...I should know...born and raised right here in the bible belt all my life.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack 2

    As you can see this is not an automatic weapon. This is a crime done by a person with mental issues. Maybe he watche's too amny violent video games. We need to fix the problem not the symptoms.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Find it off

    Just happen to find it odd that a new bill is supposed to go before Obama within a few days and suddenly there is another shooting with a shotgun instead of an assault rifle everyone's been blabbing about. Those are next are the agenda. Never been a conspiracy theorist but this is a little too coincidental

    January 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Oldscribe

    Once again the shooter breaks the law. You must be a legal adult to own a firearm, 16 ain't an adult. Minors can only carry a firearm with a valid hunting licence, on private property, with permission, and with a parent or adult approved by a parent. As I recall (from when I lived there) the age is 21 in California. A minor cannot purchase ammo. A minor cannot have a firearm, or ammo, in a vehicle or on their person in public, and especially on school property. This kid did not care, and would have violated any law there was. No amount of new laws will stop criminals with guns, and disarming law abiding citizens won't make criminals start obeying the law. How did this kid manage to walk into the school with a SHOTGUN without being noticed and police called??? This can't be legislated. It is true that had the criminal had an assault weapon or high capacity magazine pistol there may well have been dozens of fatalities – but it's too late to "un-ring the bell" of large magazines – there are 10's of millions already in private hands...

    January 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MBAman

    My question is this, if more guns in theory reduce gun violence, why do inner cities have such high murder rates? I live in Md, and in Baltimore City everyone has a gun and you have 300-400 people killed a year. The answer is not to ban guns, that won't happen. But the number of guns available doesn't necessarily stop gun violence either.

    Man has been killing for 1000's of years, so banning guns won't stop them from doing that. A gun makes you a more efficient killer, but in and of itself does not make you one.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. lmc11

    President Obama, members of the media (David Gregory included), members of Hollywood (yes you Michael Moore), and members of Congress are protected by armed security. They also send their kids to schools like Sidwell that have 11, yes 11 armed security, plus secret service for Obama's kids. Why should we and our children not be protected as well. What makes it OK for them to have 2nd amendment rights while they want to take away ours?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1doctor

      WHEN will you all stop the "take away our 2nd amendment rights" crap. Just because there are regulations and laws for gun control does not mean anyone or any government is taking away your 2nd amendment rights. You people are downright stupid. ALL...yes ALL of the legislators and gun control groups who are working on this issue repeatly remind you and your type that they agree with 2nd amendment rights. My god, please, people. Geeeez

      January 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Postal

    What? No call to ban shotguns?

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

      I think the weapon the student used had a lot to do with the outcome. In the other recent shootings the gunmen used automatic weapons whereas this student used a shotgun which has a much slower shooting rate. The shooter had time to process their actions and consequences between rounds- the teacher had an opportunity to dialogue with the shooter. A much better outcome was achieved. I think this anecdotal evidence for banning assault weapons which turn mass murder into a detached event.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      No one used automatic weapons in any of these shootings.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Israeli Mossad

    This event was predicted YESTERDAY on an internet message board called Lunatic Outpost.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
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