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. Jay D

    Pro-Gun: see its not the AR15.

    Anti-Gun : see there wasn't mutilple killings.

    NRA : this wouldn't have happened if every kid was carrying a gun.

    Gun Manufacturers : What do we do with all this cash!

    I don't have a problem with guns for hunting and self defense in the home (I own a couple), but I am in favor of licensing, c.e., insurance to carry, background checks for all gun sales, limiting/banning high capacity killing weapons, good guys taking away the bad guys gun and for god sake find someone credible to represent pro-gun owners on TV. The "how dare you enjoy the freedom that we the gun owners provide and then question our means" has got to go. "I'm the hero. You need us you'll see". To many insecure gun owners living the John Wayne/Red Dawn fantasy. A civilized society is not one where everyone needs to carry a gun around. We should be able to send kids to school not resembeling Fort Knox. Next thing you know a gun fight we'll erupt at a restaurant because the coffee was to cold.

    Why don't we start demanding smarter weapons for gun manufacturers? Guns have more killing power now more than ever but are just as dumb. Let's bring guns into the modern times.

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

      simple solution: every gun should have a fingerprint locking system so that only the actual owner of the gun can fire it, and the person buying the gun should have background check and psych clearance. then a disturbed relative couldn't use the gun, a thief couldn't use it, and the gun owner still had the right to buy and own a gun. that's what I call a "well regulated militia", per the second amendment!

      January 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • eliminat0r

      so instead of a biometric safe – a biometric safety on guns? Interesting. If you could figure out how to make that happen you could prob make a ton of money.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      yeah, but I bet the NRA and our paranoid fellow citizens expecting ciivil war would still object to this.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. unknownmonkey26

    Disclaimer to readers, don't this the wrong way, but why did the shooter only shoot two victims? I've searched on multiple sites (CNN, Foxnews, MSNBC, etc) to try and find out why there were only two victims. (Again, I don't mean that in a bad way).

    Was he stopped another student or teacher? Did the police have a really good response time and stop it quickly? Or did he only intend specifically on those two victims as the targest and it just happened to be at school when they were targeted.

    As for the time of posting, which is about 3:30 PM Eastern time, I haven't found out why there were only two victims.

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

      maybe because he shot the guys he wanted to shoot, or befcause he "only" had a simple shotgun and couldn't shoot more people before he was stopped?

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

      He was stopped by the teacher and another faculty member. That is why he was not able to injure anyone else.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Don't Tred on Me!

    The Rights of the Free Man must be protected!
    Our forefather's had the intelligence and the grace of God supporting them when they penned the Second Amendment.


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

      Where is the limit of the second amendment? At what point do you feel it becomes ridiculous. Should you be allowed to own a tank? Or an Apache Helicopter? What is your definition of arms, and where does it end?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don't Tred on Me!


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

      " a well regulated militia" being necessary....
      why always leave out the first halpf of the amendment? "well regulated" speaks for itself.

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

    All of this anti gun talk reminds me of that reefer-madness movie. the arguments guns are absurd. no one objects better background checks but dont try and outlaw a certain type of gun. otherwise you're gonna end up like the 1930's when the cops had revolvers and teh bad guys had full auto guns.

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

      Pretty sure nobody is trying to regulate the weapons available to law enforcement professionals.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • whoady4shoady

      What happens when Law Enforcement is the bad guys?

      January 10, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. coyote

    how do we know that this is true? at all or its just a little Push by the over lords? I don't buy it.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pendelton1st

      The black helicopters buzzing around you again? Take your meds cupcake.

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

      Let me guess, in order for you to believe this you have to be there, personally observing everything and part of the actions, right?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Darkseider

    Meh just a shotgun. This story will be dropped quickly because it isn't sensationalist and the the kid survived. CNN can't capitalize on survivors or a firearm that doesn't involve a detachable magazine or have black plastic furniture on it.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JAN


    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 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Inking

    We love to call ourselves the greatest country on earth. maybe that kind of arrogance allows us to be blind to
    The stupidity and lack of civility in our country....we just love our precious guns so much! more important to
    Protect these macho gun lovers' guns and bullets than the lives of innocents.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seems Legit

      So are you implying that those who legally own guns are not innocent lives as well?

      January 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. grams

    How in the world did this guy walk into school with a shotgun & nobody saw him??
    There's got to be a different system set up to allow "anyone" inside the buildings these days..A few extra minutes to get in is well worth the safety..

    January 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. PFP

    Let me guess... it was an "assault shotgun"... Not based on any reality but because of what it was used for...?

    January 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • PigMan

      They do make assault shotguns. Not that we know that was what was used or if it would have made any difference.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • wows

      I think you mean Fully automatic or semi-automatic

      January 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. the prophet

    Another Goverenment sponsored stunt

    January 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pendelton1st

    Perhaps he was just taking the NRA's advice and volunteering to protect the school, then the shooter had to "stand his ground" as he felt his life was threatened by the other student who apparently called him a fairy.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. USA

    Poo happens.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill Porter

    And there's an armed guard at that school. Imagine that.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      There was NOT an armed guard at the school on this day. He was unable to get to the school due to his residence being snowed in.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tymaxbeta

    People, number one thing to do here is stop clicking on stories like this, stop throwing your time at this trash and they will have to try something else, because I think it's absolutely ridiculous that even after this "outbreak" of shootings we still sensationalize it in the media.

    The only way these things will stop is if we stop making these lowly killers into sick antiheroes, all we're doing is perpetuating this kind of violence by sensationalizing it, and honestly, I seriously doubt that even if this comment is seen be the CEO of Yahoo himself, stopping this sensationalizing isn't going to happen, this garbage gets views, which perpetuates another act of violence, which then can get more views.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
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