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. TadBad

    I see the shooter stopped with someone *talking* to him, not pointing a gun back in his face.

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

    I would said that this is another kind of stuff that happens JUST because they saw it in news, this stupid boys are out of their minds with no personality and all that they watch on TV is what they do , PLEASE PARENTS DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN GROWING BELIEVING THAT THIS KIND OF STUFF OF BUYING GUNS AND BEEN AFRAID OF EVERYTHING IS THE KEY TO GROW, THEY HAVE TO LEARN ANOTHER KIND OF STUFF,And see what is really happening outside in this world SO DONT HURT EACH OTHER

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

    Who said you can't combat a gun without a gun?

    If that teacher had a gun, 2 people would have been shot. Instead the teacher uses common sense and language to bring down the gunman.


    NRA: 0

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

      C'mon – this particular incident is pretty clearly seeming like a personal dispute between some hot headed teenagers. Can't generalize what one teacher was able to do in this case to how to effectively deal with mentally ill mass murderers.

      I am not saying that the NRA position makes any sense (I think it is ridiculous myself), but this is a whole different situation than Sandy Hook or any of the other mass killings.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. derp

    Good thing that teacher was aremed and wasted that 16 year old in hail of bullets.

    Oh wait, that didn't happen.

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

      I know...if only someone had been there to *talk* to the Joker in Colorado, or the Asperger's kid in Connecticut. I'm sure that would have worked.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fritz Hohenheim

      Sometimes I have those dark fantasies in which anti gun propenents sit in a dark room with two TVs, one showing CNN the other msnbc, looking at nothing but shooting news and getting off on it. "OOOhhhhh...yeahhhhh...yeahhhhh.... another vidtimmmmmmmohgooodyeahhhhhh!!!!"

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

      @ fritz: you are a sick individual who makes responsible gun owners look like the crazies that the opposition thinks we all are. YOU should not have weapons, sir. at least for the good of the rest of us who refrain from fantasies of fantasies.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 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 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kianasmum

      Hear! Hear!

      January 10, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fritz Hohenheim

      They didnt talk about the ammo to my knowledge, but perhaps he was using bird shot and thats why nothing happened 🙂

      January 10, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The_Truth

    Kids killing kids in school. Its not a gun problem. Its been happening in the ghetto for years...nobody cared. But now its spilling over into small town America.

    Its what happens when the American culture is influenced by minorities.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • MBAman

      Funny how your name is truth, but you are only speaking a convient truth. Gun violence has been happening for generations. It didn't start with minorities in the city. You're ignoring the 40's, 50's & 60's where hundreds of people were gunned down in the street during mob turff wars. These minorities killing each other. And historically, no race has killed more people than the white one. You can justify it, or try and explain it away but that is fact not opinion.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. yeehaw

    Try and take our guns and it will be the republic of 1776 all over again!! Yeeehaw!!!!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fsjunkie

    That's it! Snipers on school roof tops, NOW!!!!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Moveagain

    Why are we even debating this? Imprison the student and his parents for life for failing to raise their child properly.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mork

    Was he a 'criminal' BEFORE this happened? Probably not.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Barry

    I want to hear more than "I am saddened by this and my prayers are with the families" from our public officials.

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

      Why dont they try to pray before stuff happens?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      @ fritz – because prayer obviously does nothing but provide a 'kind' gesture to appease the writhing masses. Or maybe God is just calling all of these children home because he loves having lots of kids around.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. randy watson

    what would happen in Randy Watson had number 1 and 2 and now we have a 3rd?? He gets this...ahhhhh!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bribarian

    Obama false flag?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. randy watson

    DW client looks like my buddy Harold!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Michael

    So, let me guess. Ban shotguns now as well? Are we going to get another shooting which includes a hand gun and then ban all hand guns? I think I see where all of this is going.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • No Dummy

      It's not that topical. Zeigeist:Moving Forward

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

      So I guess its not about assault rifles.
      Any kook with a shotgun, knife, broken bottle can harm people.
      Its the kook, not the weapon.
      Got it?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Smith

      You don't get it, do you? It's good this kid didn't have access to the AR 15 or this would have been much worse. This proves that shotguns can not do the damage that AR 15's can. This is exactly what the President is talking about. This kind of weapon caused one injury and no deaths. If he had access to automatic weapon's and high count clips we could be dealing with another Newtown or Columbine.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • O

      No, actually. It sounds horrible to say, but thank god is was only a shotgun and not an AR or some automatic weapon. Think about it, a shotgun has 2 shots before the shooter has to reload. Imagine if it had been an assault weapon. He would've definitely hit the 2nd student and possibly many more, and the teacher would've never had the opportunity to talk the shooter down. This is pure speculation, but my guess is that the reason why the teacher was able to talk to the shooter was because the shooter had to reload (shotgun shells in his POCKETS).

      Amazing heroics by teacher, but I'm guessing if the shooter had an AR, the teacher would've been diving under the desks rather than talking to the shooter. This is why we need to ban assault weapons, not ALL guns as most people think. Assault weapons have no place in society other than on the battlefield, so why not ban them.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
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