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. Repeal the 2nd Amendment

    Well, Matt and Rick. Seems to me that the NRA constantly tells us that mass shootings and school shootings are isolated incidents within the scope of the USA's gun culture, don't they?

    Hmmmm, john cash's attack response to me has disappeared. Wonder why? Violation of CNN's ToS?

    Spot on, Mark!

    Ain't that America, little pink houses for you and me.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Repeal the 2nd Amendment

      Sorry for the dangling comment. This was intended as a reply to an earlier post.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. brian in dc

    How does one hide a shotgun? Anyone who has one knows how big/bulky they are.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Repeal the 2nd Amendment

      It's the old "Is that a shotgun in your pant leg, or are you just happy to see me?" trick.

      Ain't that America, little pink houses for you and me.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. obamasucksathisjob

    Let's ban schools. This way we solve the problem of guns and we stop these POS liberal schools from turning out more liberal m0r0ns

    January 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Exactly

      Let's just ban public schools.. private schools are ok right? for those that can afford them... and let's just homeschool our kids.. because the best way to avoid a problem is to hide from it and make sure it's everyone else problem only... oh until it starts showing up at your door...

      January 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Media Darling

    I think what bothers me the most about this is gun control isnt about banning or outlawing something. It should be about controling who gets what. But heres the govt taking the easy way and so many people in this country are so misinformed and that also bothers me. The majority of you know nothing about guns, and by the medias logic and your logic which is the medias is this, if people only used assualt rifles for murder than why is it that not even 1% of gun crimes involve rifles?
    All the public outrage is pathetic cause lets just focus on mass shootings. Your prob the same people that only care when a black person gets killed by a hispanic man the media says is white, while all the other minorities that get killed by HANDGUNS on a daily basis you could care less about. Its so easy to pick and choose your compassions isnt it and put a higher value on some lives while other lives have no value? But you just do what the news tell you to.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. davidmba1

    I guess a good guy without a gun, can stop a bad guy with a gun. All it took was courage.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Repeal the 2nd Amendment


      Ain't that America, little pink houses for you and me.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. obamasucksathisjob

    more liberal school violence. Blue states suck so bad that they make these kids want to kill. Liberal ideology at it's finest.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mjspark

    No one is taking away my gunz!!!

    January 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sally

    Assuming this kid had a standard two shell shotgun, It sounds like he just had a score to settle.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thezel

      oh, yeah, that makes it ok then, huh?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. FN SCAR

    The "Right to bear arms" is not because our founding fathers were afraid they wouldn't be able to hunt. Hunting was a necessity then so that went without saying. The right is to give us the ability to defend ourselves. Stop trying to change the 2nd amendment. Its there for a reason and that reason is what I stated above. It's time for liberal's to stop being scared little sheep and come shoot a gun.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Exactly

      So where's this "Well Regulated Militia?" Because all I see are morons with some weird gun lust that are afraid that someone is going to take away their toys...

      January 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Taking what you said a bit further, many of the amendments (such as the first and second) exist specifically not for the purpose of allowing the Federal goverment to *grant* rights, but for the purpose of identifying pre-existing individual rights granted to humans by their Creator and which the Federal government *may not* infringe upon. Or to put it concisely, since the government can't grant it to you, the government can't take it away.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • pprty

      I'll defend myself with a pistol. I only need one. One shot.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Exactly

      Oh man.. i've heard it all now... Jesus wants you to have guns... it's your god-given right....

      January 10, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      @Exactly: Your idea of a "weird gun lust" is simply another person's hobby. Some people like to keep deadly snakes, too. Not my cup of tea, but as long as their hobby doesn't hurt me, who am I to complain? I like to collect and shoot semi-auto guns because they illustrate the historical advance of technology during periods of warfare. Big deal. My hobby doesn't hurt you, so hands off. If a bad guy does something bad with a gun (the very definition of "criminal") then by all means go after the bad guy. Going after me and my collection is the ultimate of stupidity.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Accipiter

      I've shot a gun. I support hunting. But I don't support this 'anyone can have a gun' mentality in this country. Regulate the damned things like we regulate owning and operating a car – medical and physical tests to get a license, inspections of the machine every few years and renewals of your license every few years. Will it totally eliminate gun violence? Of course not, but it will prevent a lot of it.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Reason

    can we just give everyone more guns already? CNN commenters tell me that more guns will equal less gun violence. They all sound so smart when they say it...how can this NOT be the answer we are moving toward?

    January 10, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Chris Gates

      Firearm murders are down every year since 2006. In that time gun ownership by Americans has increased. So yes, more guns do equal less gun violence.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Thezel


    January 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jimmy72

    If there is a gun in the story, it will lead. We need idiot control, not gun control.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just the Facts

      We need to look at the Ultra-Violent video games we have kids playing all the time.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mayberry No More

    Right.. I must have missed that one somewhere. Guns are the root of all Evil.. Well lets just make this up as we go along folks, I mean really..

    January 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Just the Facts

    The kids today play these Ultra-Violent video games, you think that doesn't have an effect? Come on!

    January 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Exactly

    Mayberry No More... are you that dumb? He didn't access the gun at school....

    January 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24