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. jim

    Shotgun – one injury
    Semi-automatic – 27 dead

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

      exactly! we are a gun-crazy nation of assault rifle idiots.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Awesome Dobson

      I'd like to point out that a shotgun is lethal. If he had simply kept shooting this story could have ended with a large death toll like any other.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • billmelater1

      Only because he was talked down. With a shotgun he could have killed just as many or more.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dillon

      Yea lets continue shall we?
      Knife: 1 or 2 dead
      Baseball Bat: 1 dead
      Machate: 1-5 Dead
      Bomb: 100 Dead.

      The point is, are we to ban everything that can be used to hurt someone else? Where does it stop? Forks? Butter Knives? These are all tools, like firearms are. They are just being used with bad intentions. Taking away a weapon wont stop violence. Only stopping violence will stop violence. Get it?

      January 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. The_Truth

    American culture is being eroded by the gangsta mentality of day hood. Except now its outta da hood, and up in the American kitchen.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Zobit

    Violent videogames strike again.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just the Facts

      Thank you! We had a little debate about violent video games for a short time, but now it's big business so the media won't mention it!

      January 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tim

    Today, the fatality rate was zero. If teachers were all armed, I don't think that would still be the case.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lol ban any gun past 1800...

    I'm keeping mine. Period.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. seequin

    Its the byproduct of gun availability.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The_Truth

    Guns must be registered...
    Mentally ill can't own guns...
    Convicted felons can't own guns..

    And we really really really mean it this time....lol

    January 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • billmelater1

      Oh gee don't forget criminals can own guns too. Oh I guess someone forgot to tell them too.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JAY

    If you're against gun control you're with the mass murderers of children.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Responsible Gun Owner

    I'm a totally responsible gun owner, very middle-of-the-road, and I am SHOCKED by all the very violent video games they have kids playing these days. Like someone said, we should be paying much more attention to this issue, these was a debate about violent video games at one point, but now no-one's speaking out about this!

    January 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • allen

      violent video game was debunk long time ago.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steve

    Gabby, Gabby, Gabby – give it a rest – you're using your situation to further your own goals – it gets tiring of hearing your 'solution' of 'dis-arming' America – just won't work – look at Australia!!

    January 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pjhall

    How many shootings has this been in a two month period? It seems like the middle school shooting has given the mentally ill motivation to start killing everybody.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. magnum12

    Great! Now the Dems will want to ban all shot guns.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    It seems evidently better to educate teachers with negotiation skills rather than arming all of them with guns

    January 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Larry Simpson

    does anyone pay any attention at all to the students coming in the door? How hard would it be to detect a shotgun?

    January 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The_Truth

    You must have background check

    You must register your firearm

    Mentally I'll cannot own guns

    Convicted felons cannot own guns

    No guns on school grounds

    And we really, really mean it this time.....lol

    January 10, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
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