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. NoTags

    This is no big deal for the shooter. In today's courts he will get a slap on the hand and be back on the streets in 30 days.

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

    Guess CNN didn't like the one about minority culture eroding American culture? Kids have been shooting each other in the ghetto for many years now. Let's not just ignore it. Like we have been doing.

    But now that the epidemic has hit small town America in a big way, the libs are coming out of the woodwork.

    Why do our children think gun play is somehow a glorious way to solve their problems?

    January 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. em

    What really amazes me is that most of these crimes have to do with bullying in some sort of way, so instead of necessarily taking the guns away why can't America work on the issues leading up to the event also.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ShawnG

    There is a Walmart close to my house, but I will never shop there again unless they stop selling automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles. They are the biggest sellers of guns and any company that puts their own corporate greed ahead of my family's safety and welfare is not going to get my business.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just the Facts

      Wal-Marts don't sell "automatic" weapons, that's just a common misunderstanding.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • yankeenot

      HAA, what about alcohol? There is more fatalities from idiot drunks than guns?????

      January 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Here's an idea, Shawn. Before you go on a boycott, stop by your local Walmart and try to buy an automatic "assault rifle." Just be prepared for the clerk to look at you as if you've lost what little mind you have. Your comment serves only to illustrate the ignorance of the uninformed. That's the problem with the internet, any imbecile with a computer can post, regardless of how uninformed he is. Come to think about it, voting has the same problem.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. clarity6

    but the NRA still insists guns don't kill people....

    January 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BigdaddyUSA

    Teachers should have been armed and silenced the kid!

    January 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JosepCentron

    school failed to see problem with this child very said lots of blame to go around death by hammers true 3 times as many deaths as guns true look it up

    January 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • youre wrong

      You mean death by rifles is less than hammers?? Do you have proof?? did your dad touch you before bed?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • obamasucksathisjob

      Let'e listen to all the libera mor0ns and ban something. I know let's ban schools.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark C

      Uh, yeah, right. Hammers. You may actually be the dumbest guy on the Internet.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    More people are killed car wrecks than by guns are they going to take away cars too?

    January 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matix

      People don't intentionally crash cars either.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • scarf

      They regulate cars and the people who use them a lot more than they regulate guns.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKrause

      Hey John, I'm guessing you must have watched the Piers Morgan/Alex Jones exchange the other night. Your lame argument is very similar to what Jones was screaming for nearly 15 minutes. Believe it or not, other people have the right to NOT be shot by guns as you do to own guns.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Another exploiter of the Second Amendment.

      I don't know why Americans chose to live in fear.... you need a gun because you fear.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flavio

      . . . There aren't concealed cars either. . .

      January 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    Shame on the first guy to shoot up a school, shame on the second guy for shooting up a school, shame on the third guy for shooting up a school, ect, ect..... When are we going to shame the school for not protecting the kids?

    January 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • b

      when seconds count, police are only minutes away.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      When are we gonna give the teacher a gun so she could kill the kid with the gun? The, the govt gives the Poor teacher free counseling for life.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shoot Away

      Columbine had armed guards. 15 dead, 23 wounded. Guess that didn't work too well.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I guess You all want to just sit around and wait on a gun ban from lawful citizens and for criminals to run out of ammo?
      It doesn't take a smart person to realize the only way to stop a crime is resistance. I said nothing of a teacher being armed, but nothing wrong with that either, if they are someone that is trained. So tell me what your plan is. I want to hear what you think is the fastest way to prevent a school shooting from happening tomorrow.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flavio

      Someone said just give the teacher a gun so she could kill the kid . . . well, what if the teacher can't or chooses NOT to kill . . . what if there are a thousand better ideas than killing the enemy . . .what about preventing? What about avoiding nut jobs from having access to guns? Every week someone shoots someone and the same discussions arise . . . silly society we live in isn’t? Let’s just do something . . . let’s stop this please!

      January 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JosepCentron

    very sad

    January 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Norm

    California, Colorado, Connecticut.... liberals just shouldn't be allowed to have guns.

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

      Another imbecile heard from.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      That's logical. This MUST explain the mass shootings in Arizona and that Army base in Texas...

      January 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sciguy73

    And soup cups! Riddick!

    January 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. topperG

    Let's get those shotguns.......

    January 10, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. b

    This student was only out to shoot 2 people. He called them out BY NAME. Shot guns can inflict more damage then an AR-15, so this "assault weapon" ban is just to shut people up, make it seem like they are doing something to "end" the violence. Shot guns and hand guns can be reloaded much quicker then a SWAT team can be paged and on scene allowing for many, many deaths. What we need is armed and well-trained guards or police officers to prevent this from happening at all PLUS metal detectors. People will slip a weapon into a school when they want to. This is now a sick fad. Whether it is a pistol, shot gun, "assault-rifle," knife, etc. The quickest way to end the conflict is to have the officer ALREADY on scene. This shouldn't be a political fight, this is a common sense issue. Do you want it to take the police 5 minutes to get to the scene of violence or 30 seconds?

    January 10, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • fiscal2020

      This isn't a police state and decent cops that can't be bribed cost $80k+ / year with pension and health benefits.

      Or are you under the delusion that someone making $30k would risk their life for strangers? Money talks.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snake Eater

      This is in response to fiscal2020 comment, yes people volunteer their life for strangers protection. I make about 30,000 in security at a nuke facility. I would work for that much easily as a school security officer to protect the children. Schools are going to have to become hard targets to prevent violence. What if terrorist held children hostage it has happened in other countries. I also served 8 years in the army for less than that, as there are many serving their nation to protect strangers even people of other nations. Also i do not believe in arming teachers, let the teachers teach and security officers tend to security.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. IvyLeagueMamaLlama

    This shows why it does NOT take a "good guy with a gun" to stop a shooter (not to mention that lots of children would die in accidental shootings if there were guns in every school).

    January 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • zan

      Feel free to try to stop an armed assailant without a gun and tell us how easy it was. The teachers' actions, while noble, could easily have resulted in death.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • JosepCentron

      ur joking right are the presidents children guarded with men with guns?????????

      January 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKrause

      Zan, a teacher with a gun in this very situation could very well accidently shoot a student or anybody else. Heck, our trained military personnel and police officiers sometimes shoot the wrong person. If more guns makes society safer (as seems to be the argument of the NRA and it's indoctrinated followers) than why do we have more gun related crimes/deaths than any other civilized nation?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
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