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. Vee Sphere

    Just another day in the usa. Guns, schools, and shootings. What a joke.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. duh

    This isn't a tragedy, it's just a attempted Homicide.
    Anyone who thinks the gun is the problem, I will gladly kill you with my Pencil to make the point.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • biglio

      yep, if the kid had only a pencil I'm sure it would've gone exactly the same way.....

      January 10, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chuck

    Kind of odd how a California Congressman just shows up for the media blitz

    the same school had a shooting before, but since it was latino gang members
    it didnt make CNN

    January 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Actually we have never had a GANG related shooting here at Taft high, because we are a small community, we do not have gangs. The shooter was white as were the ones injured. And as for our congressman he frequents our town a lot as he has personal family and friends. Please if you do not know anything do not open your mouth.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. john the electrician

    What would have been the death toll if the shooter had access to a AR15 or AK47? Proof that gun control in California saves lives.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juan

      How? Are you aware of the amount of truely automatic firearms that are in the hands of gang members? These laws don't help anyone other than criminals.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vin King

    Lawl, a school shooting with a shotgun. This is exactly the type of weapon no liberal cried out for to be banned in the wake of Sandy Hook. None of the proposed actions covered shotguns.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      You just proved your own argument. Shot guns are NOT weapons of mass destruction. He would have killed many more with an AR-15. "And, the "liberals" didnt cry to ban shotguns." No, they didnt because they want REASONABLE gun control, you just proved THIER point. They ARE not coming for ALL YOUR GUNS.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      and when only shotguns are left and the next guy uses one, they won't come for the shotguns?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dogdaddy

    Sigh. This is what happens when schools are not allowed to teach critical thinking skills. (And yes, I'm talking to you.)

    January 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike in Louisville

    Do NOT publish this idiot's name. PLEASE!

    January 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TheBigSarge

    way to go, teach!!!! hope the student is alright and the other is prosecuted.

    BTW: good going with that strict gun control, california. works as well as your illegal immigrant prevention program.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. komododr

    Clearly the kid is not a nut case but probably a victim of bullying. If it is so, good for him. That's how you settle grievances. A few more of that people will be more respectful.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cliff Thompson

    Can the media stop covering gun shootings? It gives a loser a chance of getting publicity. Everyday some idiot decides to kill a bunch of people and themselves. I am starting to wonder if this is done for attention. If we "act" like we don't care about these losers than maybe they might just kill themselves instead. How about covering people who make positive changes or maybe just facts? Major quality difference in US media and international coverage.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. B R

    The shooter had been bullied for years by the victim and other inteded victims and the school never did anything. The victim that was shot was the son of the schools coach. The shooter had even been suspended for creating a hit list last year. The school and local law enforcement had failed this situation a long time before today. They still dont want to talk about anything that led to the horrible events of today.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gary

    Maybe IF parents shot more blanks, we'd have less problems with these children. Learn to raise a respectful, caring, and decent child. Think about it.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Two Eight

    Gee....here's a surprise. Yet another typical day in the U.S., you guys have problems.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Louden

    Please, do not release the shooter's name or picture. Let whoever this was fade from the public eye and not become an object of infamy.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Calidip

    sounds like the shooter used bird shot.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
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