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. Juan

    This student clearly forgot that there was a gun free school zone law in place. Otherwise this wouldn't of happened. And how awesome of Senator Feinstein to lead the pack and politicize this while the bodies are still warm.

    Tell me again how gun free school zone laws work, please. By the way, this was a SHOTGUN. Not a pistol or AR. Next you're going to tell me that we should ban shotguns.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. curt3rd

    Doesnt Cali have the strictes gun laws in the nation..

    January 10, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      Your point there being that the strictest laws are doing anything? I agree, we need to ban all guns immediately

      January 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • sohappy

      the reply from "truth" makes no sense

      January 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      In response to Truth, I don't think we need to ban all guns immediately, but we do not NEED most of them. I mean seriously, a shotgun!? A 16 year old should not have access to a shotgun! I can understand having pistols remain around, but more for police and home defense. I wouldn't get rid of ALL guns, just the high powered ones.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • mandy

      how did this kid get a 12 guage into school?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sinnedangel

      Or stop glorifying the individuals that commit these atrocities. The lonesome and upset (deranged if you prefer, which I do not) that are seeking attention will seek to use these types of outlets to get the attention they want.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Igor

      Actually shotgun could be more effective for self-defense at home than a pistol. Pistols are only good in movies... or as a concealed weapon of choice for self-defense.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotQuite

      Well...We pretty much have all the neat stuff banned. But not shotguns. Maybe he was compliant with CA hunting laws and had a magazine limiting device (wood dowel) to limit the capacity as well, and birdshot to boot...lol...I think the shotgun is one the the most devastating weapons available, so much so that the Germans wanted the Americans to stop using it during WW1 (trenchgun) because it inflicted too much carnage and was not a fair way to fight.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      I guess your're right. I'm kinda thinking also in these sort of situations. Like at Aurora, wouldn't it have been easier to take out the shooter had a few pistols instead of an assault weapon and a shotgun?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dang

    Dang. There go our shotguns. I wish these idiots would use Taurus, Rossi, or Kel-Tec.
    No one cares if those are banned.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sensible human

    Well, guess this kinda throws the "assault" weapon issue a curve, kid shows up with a "pump" shotgun, no high capacity magazines here. I just said yesterday, what happens when the next nut show up and shoots with something other than an "assault" rifle. You will NOT stop someone who really wants to do this by banning, or registering. He could have just as easily walked in and started stabbing.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Arsh

    Here we go again. attack guns not the fact that the kid was bullied and the teachers didn't do anything to stop it in the past. Same crap as columbine. keep pretending your "precious jocks" arent the problem and you'll keep getting the same result. You dont see this crap in places where people respect eachother.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      Where does it say anything about being bullied or jocks? The investigation is just getting started. Don't put your personal spin on a story that is still unfolding.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      What, exactly, do you expect teachers to do??? There are countless options, many of which are ineffective when the parents of bullies are bullies themselves. A teacher can only do so much. And it sounds like the teacher and staff member who talked this jackars into putting his gun down are heroes. So, how dare you criticize teachers. Try it – my bet is you wouldn't last a week.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • ciscoheat

      Yeah, because its all about bullies as well huh? Those little kindergartners really bullied that stranger didn't they? Wake up, its a little of everything people. We need comprehensive reform. Taking away all the guns won't work, but regulating them better must be on the table. They can't be untouchable either.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jay D in CT

    Please, please, please... Do NOT publish the name or image of the person who did the shooting. It only encourages the next one! "Look at that guy. Yesterday he was just a loser, a nobody, a punching bag for bullies. Now the WHOLE WORLD knows his name. His picture is plastered on Page One of every newspaper and all over the TV and the internet! Now, that's what I want!" There has been little else in the news in the three weeks since the Newtown incident. You can't pick up a paper, a magazine, open a Web page or turn the TV without being accosted by yet another Sandy Hook story. We need scale media coverage of these things WAY back, painful as they may be. These sickos crave attention and that's just what we're giving them. If a kid beat another one to death with a brick, you'd see brickings all over the country within days, don't you think?

    If we could magically make all the guns go away tomorrow, the violence would not stop. It is doubtful that it would even be significantly reduced. The blood of these kids (and others) is largely on the hands of the Media. If we were to ban guns and other forms of graphic violence in just one town -Hollywood- it would go a long way towards solving the violence problem nationwide.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Nothing else in the news??? Really. You are right, that whole Fiscal Cliff thing was such a small story.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay D in CT

      During the first week or so, the entire Congress could have been kidnapped by aliens and there would have been a 5-line article on page 39 of the New York Times.

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

    To me this is just more proof that we need to ban assault rifles. This kid was using a shot gun, something that i think of as a hunting rifle. He could load what, 2 or 3 rounds? No one was killed because he didn't have a gun that could fire 100 bullets a second.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake Pannel

      noone was killed because the teacher talked him out of it.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      To me it's just more proof that you put emotions over thinking.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake Pannel

      Oh yea. It's illegal to get an assault rifle that is fully automatic. A fully automatic gun is an assault weapon. I welcome the debate but you need to know what you are talking about.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • yeranidiot

      umm..you can load alot of rounds into a shotgun. Add to the fact that a blast from a shotgun can do alot more dmg than 1 from a rifle.

      Lrn2Weapons maybe?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisIA

      He told the teacher "I don't want to shoot you" and put the gun down. This was a targeted killing, not a rampage of any kind. He called the two out by name before he shot them. They also said he had as many as 20 rounds of ammunition in his pockets. More didn't die because the shooter chose not to kill more.

      "Ban the AR 15 because the kid used a shotgun" just makes you sound dumb.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay D in CT

      Nobody seems to really know what a so-called "assault rifle" really is. They think it is the same as a machine gun. A true assault weapon, as issued to the militaries of various countries, may or may not have the capability to fire more than one bullet with a single press of the trigger. The look-alikes available to civilians do NOT have "full-auto" capability. Regardless of what the media and the gun-ban crowd would like you to believe, a semi-auto pistol or rifle cannot shoot any faster than an old fashioned "six shooter," they may -or may not- hold more cartridges. In fact, a recent test showed that a Smith & Weson revolver made in 1957 could fire its 6 shots faster than a Glock semi auto. Machine guns which can fire multiple rounds per second are not available to the general public, and have not been since 1934.

      BTW, a single barrel shotgun, fired into a crowd, is just as deadly as any other weapon, as it fires 9 or more pellets with a single blast.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • ciscoheat

      I think he has a point. Yes, assault rifles aren't fully automatic, but with when they can fire 30 bullets in 27 seconds...that's a problem. The shotgun can't come close to that. He fired twice, he was most likely out of bullets. It just goes to show that it takes comprehensive reform. Banning all guns won't stop it, and there is a lot more than just guns you have to go after...but the point is, gun legislation needs to be on the table.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dravoj

    Suicide is shot in the back.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sensible human

    To all you out there that keep saying this was an averted "massacre" because he didnt have an AR-15, it was obvious that this kid did not want to kill alot of people, cause he was talked down. BUT if he had intended to really kill some people, would it have mattered what they got shot with?

    January 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • tyuow

      I want to know how long he was bullied.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. felipe0

    Who is the idiot that supplied a shotgun to a kid?

    January 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • ciscoheat

      He probably stole it...and lets face it, shotguns are not a super deadly weapon. They actually have real uses, and a lot of them. The fact is, he only injured one person. I know that's a terrible thing to say for that one person who may lose their life or be injured for life, but the fact is, as bad as it sounds, its better than 20 dead. He shot off 2 bullets the whole time, in Aurora with an assault riffle, he shot off 30 bullets in 27 seconds. We have to keep in in perspective, not all guns are "evil."

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

    Nikola tesla is the bigest genie in the world of all time.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    You people who blame guns are pitifully stupid. As far as confiscating my legally owned firearms, try taking mine. I promise you it will not happen as long as I am alive.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • david

      Anyone who disagrees with you is pitifully stupid, right? That's usually the sign of someone who is pitifully stupid.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonathanweeston

      And here come the tin foil hat crowd, out in force again, I see. Desperately typing away at their keyboards, protecting all of us from "King Obama," and his socialist plans to rule as a tyrant because he's from Kenya.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nobland

      So Dave, so who do you intend to shoot first? Your mother?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • conrad

      Spoken like a true bully.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. maria

    Metal detectors with an armed guard. This is what every high school needs. Maybe every grade level school.

    January 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • conrad

      You want our once peaceful country to look like a militarized war zone? How long before those same guards start policing our every move? This would be a much greater loss of freedom and lifestyle than simply giving up assault weapons.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisIA

      They had an armed guard. He wasn't at school that day due to weather.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff

    The United States has lost control. No other countries are having incidents like the U. S. Why?

    January 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisIA

      Really? So Anders Behring Breivik didn't kill like 46 kids in Oslo and set off a bomb in the city? I guess our media got the country wrong? Or that schizophrenic in Germany (Cologne) that built the homemade flamethrower because he couldn't get a gun and then attacked an elementary school was in the states too? please.

      January 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TheAntiChrist

    New gun laws. You must be 88 years old to own a gun. If your gun gets stolen then you automatically are convicted of the crime it was used for. LOL.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
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