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. SomeGuy

    America glorifies guns, and until you change that you will always have problems, until guns are viewed as weapons that serve one purpose and that is to kill, you will always have problems.

    More background checks, better rules on gun shows, smaller magazines won't fix it, you need to fix your culture. You need to stop making it acceptable to keep a shotgun behind the door, a handgun in the dresser or a hunting rifle hanging on the garage wall.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. txlady706

    lets not forget toothpicks

    January 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rosslaw

    Probably one of those union teachers responsible for the 2008 financial crisis and recession.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rev Dr Felix Nwosu

    Is a sorry situation, when will this end?i pray that God gives the victim of todays tragedy quick recovery amen.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    Kudos to the teacher and supervisor for talking to the teen shooter and getting him to eventually put down the shotgun. Literally cool heads under fire. I hope those injured will make full recoveries. As for Sen. Feinstein, leave it to her to politicize and exploit this event for her own long-running agenda.

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

      This was staged buddy like other shootings

      January 10, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alcorn

      What's her long running political agenda, exactly? Saving lives? How would she benefit financially (bc it all really comes down to money) if we passed gun control measures?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NRA 4 life

    Shouldn't they have had to talk the gun into surrendering, since its the one that allegedly does the killing? #gunrights

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

      you boys with your guns are so silly. little wee wee issue huh?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • NRA = VeryOdd

      Way to trivialize a very serious and horrible incident. As much as I enjoy my guns I cannot condone being affiliated to an organization with people like you. Shame...shame on you. hope that young person recovers, both physically and emotionally.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Boop

    Bottom line guns are a nightmare......open your eyes!

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

      so are cars. open your eyes.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Israeli Mossad

    This event was predicted YESTERDAY on a message board called Lunatic Outpost. The post predicted Kerns County, CA and told people to keep their kids out of school.

    The same poster just issued a warning about MARTHA'S VINEYARD.

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

    How long has the kid shooter been on Paxil or Prozac ?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JustMe54

    Just in time to get shotguns on that gun ban list. Hope nobody shoots up a school with a sling shot.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • KMF

      I'm pretty sure that slingshots are already banned at schools.

      But what if the gun was an assault rifle, instead of a shotgun?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • acpie360

      You bet Fienstein would not hesitate to do that. I am only glad the kid didn't take a kitchen knife. Otherwise it might be illegal to cook my dinner tonight.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. napoleon42677

    My hats off to the teacher who's actions saved many lives.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. yankeenot

    Well, if we had two armed officers at the front door of every school two weeks ago maybe this could have been stopped. I guess goes to show where our older aged politicians priorities are, thinking about money. I encourage young americans to get involved in politics and get the boomers out now!!!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. David

    I'm sure he got that shotgun on the black market.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bob

    Bullet caliber rarely has anything to do with death. Location is where it matters. I shoot you in the face with a .22 and you're dead. It doesn't matter what round I use. 9mm FMJ is actually a crappy round. Ask our troops how much they like their M9's. They shoot guys with 9mms and they jump right back up. So, why don't you go preach somewhere else?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bill davis

    Love ot see some stories of the shooting in Chicago, where 500 people are dead....and Obamas friedn Bill Ayers the BOMB MAKER..

    January 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
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