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. Cdo7

    what ever happened to good ol' fist fights if you had beef with someone... someone gets a couple black eyes and a bruised rib then both peeps walk away. guns dont kill people. people kill people.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Owlbaby

      Well...the guns help.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bannister

      The schools outlawed fighting with their liberal "zero tolerance for violence" programs. So instead of kids actually resolving things themselves, the tension just keeps building until someone snaps.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cdo7

      thats what backyards are for

      January 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cdo7

      so do knives, bats, brass knuckles, machetes, etc..

      January 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darthlawsuit

      We put a stop to fist fights by kicking people out if they ever get into one. Now problems cannot be solved peacefully so they are solved with blood. Thanks a lot paranoid parents you doomed us all.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Fists aren't as 2nd-Amendment-y – everyone deserves to carry a gun around, doncha know, the better to 'protect' themselves...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      had there have been more then one victim CNN would have got a hard on to report this all over there page ..but since no deaths in only on person shot..cnn dont see a profit..

      January 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. The GOP


    January 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bannister

      Funny how you say the GOP wants armed guards in buildings. Did you know that the anti-gun Democrats Mario Cuomo and Rahm Emmanuel both send their children to schools that have armed guards? And they even ride to schools with armed guards? Guess it's okay for them – but the rest of us "little people" are on their own.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigTBone

      Rahm has to worry about inbred nutjob teabaggers making good on their 2nd amendment solutions.

      He was elected to an official position of govt. You were elected most likely to fornicate with a pumpkin.

      He needs protection. If you feel you do, hire some guards or win a political post.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Lots of people send their kids to schools with armed guards but they aren't the ones who put them there or the ones who rabidly support their being there. That's just the school their kids have to go to.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • CW

      II think you are confusing the Democrats on the Ignore Debt part. Just another Obamabot, low-information voter.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonboy

      YOU – I want an armed guard at my bank, guarding my money from robbers. I want armed guards on college campuses. I want armed guards at the mall to protect me when I'm shopping. I want armed guards to protect my president and my favorite celebrities. If I call 911, I want an armed guard at my house in 5 minutes flat, but KEEP THEM AWAY FROM THE SCHOOL WHERE ALL THE DEFENSELESS CHILDREN ARE!

      January 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • whoady4shoady

      Jonboy wins! Dont expect a response from any of these idiots. You destroyed them all.

      January 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Owlbaby

    Thank goodness he only had a gun! Just think of what could have happened if he had a baseball bat instead!

    January 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mayberry No More

      CNN, I'm grateful for the story of another shooting in a gun free zone. Strange that you report the news where guns are not allowed, yet even with those sanctions to create a safe and happy environment, violent behavior and the use of guns in a restricted area continue to occur. So, the only viable solution is to just take everyones guns away, because that will solve the problem!

      January 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darthlawsuit

      Its the same idea behind making a government program that no one uses. If you make a program no one uses than the only logical choice is to make people have to use that program by law!

      January 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Or just his fists!!!! Imagine how many people he could have hurt with just his own two fists!!!! Oh the horror...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • cw

      It's a good thing that NOBODY has proposed taking everyone's guns away. Do you only believe in extremes, Mayberry?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheLocNar

      Mayberry, there was an armed sheriffs deputy at the school. Will you NRA nutbags discuss that fact at all? Of course not.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • freedom

      gun owners defend the innocent against criminals every day in this country, in gas stations, parking lots, homes, and businesses.
      we dont get our daily update from CNN on those stories. only the ones involving a gun free zone and children being shot at.

      CNN is not news. It is biased. opinionated, filtered garbage.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Banteng

      Mayberry No More, it is surprising that you approve of the article. The constant over-reporting of these incidents only serves to motivate copycat nutjobs. Gee, thanks for reporting that. The media almost seems to relish reporting these incidents, which would be shameful to say the least.

      Mayberry No More, the problem isn't weapons of any sort, it is because the US is Mayberry no more. In Mayberry, those violent and insane would have been confined and given medical care before things got out of hand.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicholas

      banteng, you're right we shouldn't report these incidents because people shooting and killing another isn't a big deal right, and isn't worth discussion right??

      hear no evil, see no evil...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Owlbaby

    Because people are paranoid and don't bother looking at actual facts when they can say OMG THEY'RE COMING FOR OUR GUNS! instead.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobby jones

      the actual facts are that the gun ban in CA is registration and confiscation, read it.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • The_Truth

      Oh boy. And you can believe you are more secure, when you're not. Why don't they restrict cars to prevent drunk driving. Everyone can ride the bus.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mayberry No More

    CNN, I'm grateful for the story of another shooting in a gun free zone. Strange that you report the news where guns are not allowed, yet even with those sanctions to create a safe and happy environment, violent behavior and the use of guns in a restricted area continue to occur. So, the only viable solution is to just take everyones guns away, because that will solve the problem!

    January 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Owlbaby

      Somehow it's managed to solve the problem in every other Western nation. No other developed country has anywhere close to the amount of gun violence that we do.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    Taking away guns from the mentally insane or keeping guns out of their hands is part of the solution. If that doesn't result in taking away your guns, then why complain?

    January 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sciguy73

      It is already illegal for insane people to posses firearms. How many more laws do you need?

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

      how do you know who is mentally imbalanced or insane before they do anything that is 'crazy'? how do you know who it is ok to let have weapons– especially assualt or semi automatic weapons? in this country, people are presumed within the normal range until proven otherwise by their actions- that is conviction for criminal actions or commitment for actions giving the court grounds to commit.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just the Facts

      Most criminals are in Prisons, not in Mental Hospitals, does that tell you anything?

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

    Just one American shooting another American. It's not even news anymore. Americans don't care, why would anyone else?

    January 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Don't Tred on Me!

    A little spilled blood amongst the innocent is better than giving up our only protection from the evils of greedy government.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pepou27

      I just hope that one day your "innocent" little blood will be spilled.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Yes, always better to give up innocent lives in the name of personal freedoms...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • MilwGuy

      I'd like to see you say that face-to-face to the parents of the murdered children of Newtown

      January 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |

      What if one of the innocent were one of yours?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • whoady4shoady

      There are no innocent lives without personal freedoms Katie. Its a shame you do not understand that. Maybe you will understand once it is to late.

      January 10, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rob

    they should have executed the shooter on the spot. people have no fear of sin and authorities anymore

    January 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. marc

    He used a shotgun....Shotgun ban, coming up.

    I heard a student at a local middle school cut his classmates with the edge of his Jell-o pudding cup lid. Time to start banning snacks.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicholas

      the lids of jell-o cups are not specifically designed to kill a living thing... that is a false equivalency.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • marc

      So you're saying a claw-hammer is not a murder weapon, because it's designed for carpentry?...because a shotgun is for hunting birds or protecting your home. It isn't a murder weapon...until it's a murder weapon.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      imagine that – an anti-gub'ment, gun-toter using false logic to make an poor analogy.

      frankly I'm surprised that some of the people commenting here can even read the article they're commentin on.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicholas

      No, a gun is made to kill things. It has no other function. A hammer, or a baseball bat are not intended to be used as a weapon.

      But a gun is a weapon by definition. I bet you like to repeat how we should ban cars or something? That is just it. Cars are not killing machines by essence. We even have countless laws, regulations, and policies to minimize vehicular deaths. Isn't it a coincidence that since major efforts to reduce drunk driving in the 1970's, the amount of vehicular deaths has dropped by over half?

      But even mentioning gun restrictions gets your undies in a bunch. Guns can't be touched. Probably because it is one of the last things Republicans can use to manipulate people into voting for them.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      "So you're saying a claw-hammer is not a murder weapon, because it's designed for carpentry?...because a shotgun is for hunting birds or protecting your home. It isn't a murder weapon...until it's a murder weapon."
      Being designed for carpentry and being designed for shooting things and inflicting injury are two different things.

      Perhaps this thing that is only designed to injure should be treated a bit differently than a tool that shapes metal or attaches items to each other.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • eliminat0r

      lol Nic's got you there. The gun was invented to injure or kill something else – animals or people fact is fact. hammers were not invented to hunt deer with.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cdo7

    I think a more intense background check should be done, including psychological history and what not... im not complaining about that... I just don't think a ban on any particular gun is a solution to anything..

    January 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      As long as you include gun shows in that intense personal background check and as long as anyone who insists on exercising their 2nd Amendment rights with the purchase of an assault weapon agrees to being put on a public list...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      "a more intense background check should be done, including psychological history"

      Which should apply to all current gun owners and all prospective owners [thru sales/transfers, etc.]

      January 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • eliminat0r

      Interesting and why do you think only those who own AR's should be subject to this blatant disregard for privacy known as a pubic list. Assume I own an AR, did I commit a crime by purchasing the weapon?

      Do I commit a crime when I take it to a shooting range and fire at targets?

      Is it a crime that I own an AR because its something cool I always wanted to own?

      No to all of them – ok then – keep me off of your lame public list then and let me have my privacy. Just cause some criminal or lunatic shoots somebody with an AR doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to own one and keep those details private. i could just see the great things this public list would do – anti gun nazis would be at my door – i would probably be in greater danger from being on said list on a daily basis, not to mention the employment ramifications it could have.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. UnFed

    "Sheriff makes policy changes after man shot 16 times in bed" Seattle Times (Winner of Nine Pulitzer Prizes) You don't hear about these on CNN.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TC

    What loop holes? Lets stop the voilence being made in Hollywood and on viedo games as well. This is what is fueling the violence . We have to be smarter than what we are dealing with. Metal dectors and trained armed gaurds are worth trying. It works at the goverment buildings why not try it at our schools? I know your are going to say cost, what is worth more a fat cat goverment employee or our children?

    January 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • eliminat0r

      Yea take away my black ops 2 because it encourages people who play it to go on random shooting sprees. Seems legit.

      New flash over 1 million people play COD online – of those 1 million none have been reported as shooting someone today because it looked cool to shoot people in a game or on TV.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Nice tactics

      Blame media: There are no studies that connect violent media to violent behavior.

      Yes, lets arm people in schools. That's so much better than what has been proven to work in other industrial nations: regulate weapons. Even in the pro-gun lobby's favorite exception to the rule, Switzerland, actually requires you to be trained and acquire a permit and to pass several checks before you can buy a gun.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. empresstrudy

    CNN will of course 'raise the question' whether gun laws are racist the moment someone tries to take them from the Bloods and the Crips.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RogueProphet

    Let me tell you why banning guns is a bad idea. If they really tried to do it, you would see this country slip into a violent civil war in which far more americans will die in the process. Good luck calling in the military to fight against their own countrymen. I'm pretty sure you'd have a good number of them turning coats pretty quickly.

    Banning guns for the sake of personal safety may SOUND like a good idea, but people need to remember there are way too many people in this country that will not stand for it, and would kill you over it. I'm okay with seeing an occasional school/public shooting in the news, knowing the alternative would be far more gruesome. Stop thinking ideally and start thinkng realistically. You might be able to get away with mandatory registration of all firearms at best, but you can bet your next paycheck there will be a large number of people who won't register. I wouldn't recommend kicking down their door and trying to take those guns away, either.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigTBone

      Right... why promote a civil war? If you've taken up arms against the govt, that makes you a domestic enemy.

      You'll have a few bail on the military, but after a few Koresh wannabes, the gun nuts would realize they were way out of their league. I say go for it. Be a hero, start the movement.

      So I can come spit on your coffin while calling you a patriot.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicholas

      your side of the argument sounds perfectly rational when you imply that people you agree with are willing to kill other people for their convictions when they are lawfully opposed.

      are you promoting civil war? seriously?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
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