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. Padmanabham

    Armed veterans at schools may not solve the problem. They need to be present at the right place at the right time to avert a wrong thing from happening. It is highly unlikely to happen. The best solution is to have "moral" and "ethics" learning as a part of the curriculum to encourage kids to build tolerance and help them face negative situations or losses.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just the Facts

      And bar kids access to ultra-violent video games! We care about movies and music lyrics, but these ultra-violent video games are out of control.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. skp70118

    Hey Folks,
    We can talk about guns until we turn blue. Go back and read the story. It was an unarmed teacher who connected with the student. Come to an inner city public school any day – you will find teachers stopping and intervening in critical situatiuons. I happen to work in an inner city school where we strive to protect our students. I know because I have and will continue to do so. Teachers are vilified yet most of you do not know what we face daily. We put ourselves in harm's way to protect students. Will you?

    January 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |

    wait so you're telling me something other than a good guy with a gun stopped the bad guy with the gun?? Inconceivable!

    January 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Amer1Cabbage

    Gun Nuts, notice that only one person was shot. If the shooter had access to a semi-automatic rifle, then this could easily have been a massacre. Since the shooter only had a shotgun, the damage was limited.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. David Jones

    Can't believe all of the stupid comments about a serious event, article and subject. Are you folks this jaded about public school shootings now to joke?

    Please notice it was a shotgun and therefore only a few were harmed. Had this kid have been able to get his hands on an assault rifle with a 60 to 100 round clip there could have been a much more tragic end to this copycat crime.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry Feinstein

      How in the world do you know that? The only reason the shooter did not keep shooting is because he was talked out of it. If he had a rifle... two things could have happened: 1.) He would have still been talked out of it or 2.) he would have kept shooting.

      The fact that California's gun bans, and "gun free zone" did not stop the student from bringing the gun into a classroom goes to show how worthless those laws are.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rambo Style

    Why the Flip do these posts come up in RANDOM time order, like one comes up for 7:30pm, then the very next one comes up for 2-something pm, ha ha ha? Why can't they come up oldest first, or latest first, like a normal discussion board?

    January 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • amanda

      How did he even get it in there without anyone noticing I don't think this is our students I think this all about our second amendment and the gov take away right to bear arms ....me personally I think there going to put us in civil war in this country....

      January 11, 2013 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
    • amanda wingham

      I think the government has everything to do with this because they want so bad to take away our second amendment to bear arms so there going to turn everything around to make sure that we lose our rights.....all I got to say is I'm going to defend my self to the fullest....and I personally think that everyone should stand up to them ... I mean it would be notice able for anyone to see a 12gage shotgun I'm sorry ....

      January 11, 2013 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. Hank Hill

    What we need to do is ban schools

    January 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Epic Fail

    I would have lifted the wounded kids over my shoulder and carried them to McDonalds.

    January 10, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dscon

    gun the perps down...............then let the msm glorify that......................

    January 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The_Truth

    You see, another gun just picked itself up and walked into a school and started shooting.... wow.. the libs were right about guns.

    January 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. The_Truth

    Gangs in the ghetto have berm shooting each other for years and nobody cared
    Now its in the suburbs where the kids can afford nicer guns, and the libs are coming out of the woodwork.

    January 10, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. The_Truth

    Fix the children.....

    And the guns will take care of themselves....

    January 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. octavio maximus

    Second ammentment out. Problem solve

    January 10, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. octavio maximus

    With 2 ament- remove. 11000 lives would be save ,and cost of hospital related gun injury will help we tax payer a. Millions of dollars a year

    January 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      very true!

      January 10, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • hourglass

      or make gun owners join and train with a regular 'militia" ...

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

      and how exactly removing 2nd am. would save any life? it is the same as saying that since murder is illegal then we shouldn't have any murders

      January 11, 2013 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jonathan

    These Republicans nuts are going to kill us all. Their trying to turn America into Syria. I am scared

    January 10, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
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