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. Jokesterer

    Well here's an instance where guns DON'T kill people.

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

      Not yet anyway Jokesterer!!

      However the victimis in Critical condition, so,.....

      January 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BG


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

    Ok Now they have to BAN SHotguns too!!

    After all a student was just shot with one!!

    you know how dangerous thoseshotguns can be, wehn they decide to go around shooting people!!! 😉

    January 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mike hunt

    i love how when something like this happens and an "assualt weapon" isnt used anti-gun libs shout "well only 1 person was shot so see!". this kid shot one and shot at another and then stopped and was talked down by a teacher. not really the same mindset as someone intent on killing a dozen people. had he wanted to he would have, even with a shotgun. the fact that he didnt shoot the teacher shows his mindset wasnt the same as the guy who shot all them kids. Remember, Columbine occured with dozens of vicitms, without an assault rifle, and during an assault rifle ban. Virgina Tech too.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom

    Many of the people who are against stricter gun laws are insane.

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

      This shooter used a shot gun, those aren't even on the table for new gun laws. I guess we'll have to start over now that we know more than just assault weapons are able to kill people.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • K from AZ

      Ask Rahm how it's working out in Chicago!

      January 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      yes more control is insane as opposed to sanely walking into a school with a shot gun and shooting someone.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • drew

      @PD you are missing the point, If he had an AR15 he may have shot 15 instead of 2 in the same amount of time. I'm tired of stating the obvious.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Delfy

    I just dont understand how this can happen? By now, with all of the attention being paid to these types of incidents happening...everybody must know by now that schools are GUN FREE ZONES!

    Why don't people know? We need to do something about this right away. More signs?

    January 10, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • K from AZ

      Ask Rahm in Chicago how he got his gun controls for Chicago to work so well! In the mean time, sure, more signs. You know, everyone has a right to be stupid: you, however, are abusing the privilege!

      January 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lynette

      Maybe the shooter can't read. You are SO dumb!!! LOL

      January 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      @K from AZ

      Gun homicides have been cut in half in Chicago over the last 10 years. I agree that they are still high but you act like they have not helped at all.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      it is not a matter of not knowing, it is a matter of not caring. How can we seriously entertain the idea of stricter gun controll when, the problem is a mental issue. People who clearly think, and understand that taking a life is wrong will not go around shooting people. You can make all the gun laws you want to, but unless you can come up with a way to get guns out of the hands of unstable people, then the problem will never go away. Trying to figure out who is unstable and who is not, is self evident, an impossible task. The only to truely ensure gun violence goes down. STOP SELLING GUNS PERIOD!

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

    This was a gang situation..... not staged by the govt. like the past shootings.. nothing to see here folks, keep moving.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      I live her and this had nothing to do with Gangs.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mike hunt

    no one saw this kid walking down the hall with a shotgun?? or did someone see him and couldnt do anything because they were not armed either?

    January 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • SilentPro21

      I see what you did there lol

      January 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • biglio

      mhhhh the teacher "talked" the kid to drop his gun.......guess he didn't get the NRA memo that he should've shot him instead and start a gun gallery in the classroom.....

      January 10, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bobjective2

    Does no one on here question why CNN is reporting only this tragedy? I am not saying that they shouldnt report it however where was the tragedy of an individual in Georgia's house being broken into and she was able to protect herself in today's headlines on cnn?

    For the people that are advocates of removing all gun's from society, how would a similiar individual be able to protect themself if you took the gun away?

    Why was this individual only able to get one shot off? Many shotguns hold more than one round, was it because this school purportedly had another man with, guess what, a gun their to prevent additional damage from being done?

    January 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      CNN does have an article on that story.

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

      They did a story and a video on that story, so you point is?

      January 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill Bobaggins

    So, how's having some of the strictest gun laws in the country working out for you there, California?

    January 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Donald

    Dear God,

    Why do you allow so much violence in our schools?


    A Concerned Student

    Dear concerned student,

    I'm NOT allowed in schools.



    January 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • harriet

      funny. Not helpful.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. FredInIT

    One stump-headed kid with a beef with another... setup a boxing ring in each school... you get three minutes to beat the crap out of each other...

    January 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joy

    Why in the hell isn't this a major breaking news story???? PEOPLE have been SHOT at a school!!!

    Idiots using guns... seriously. They are unlawful. No law is going to stop people from using weapons of any kind. The point of a criminal is that they have found loopholes and will find a way to be evil. Just about any object can be used as a weapon... what people choose to do is what makes the difference. Will you use a gun for good or bad? If we ban guns it will be something else.... It all comes down to people and their choices - depends on their mental state.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • 802man

      Why in the hell isn't this a major breaking news story???? PEOPLE have been SHOT at a school!!!

      Well that's an obvious one Joy. The weapon in question is not a big bad and scary black AR-15 with a high capacity magazine that people love to misinterpret as an assault riffle. This a common shotgun that can be openly purchased in every state with little to no hassle. Well it looks like were going to have to just let this one go, huh gun control?

      January 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lacy

    This is my former High School. I still alot of family in Taft and am shocked by this. This is an excellent school with excellent teachers. The science building is a separate building (on school grounds) next to the school. You can access it from the street so no one would have seen him walking in with the shogun.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. don in albuquerque

    Have read several posts here insinuating this was all part of a "gubmint" staged plot. All posted by people who belong at a home for the hopelessly bewildered and never allowed to be 100 feet from a gun. Why? Because they represent the Lolipop Guild.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
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