2 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self
SANTA CLARITA (AP):
A student pulled a gun from his backpack and opened fire at a Southern California high school yesterday, killing two students and wounding three others before shooting himself in the head on his 16th birthday, authorities said.
The gunfire began around 7:30 a.m. at Saugus High School in suburban Santa Clarita, where Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, responding to a torrent of 911 calls found all six students in a quad area.
Security video showed that the last thing the attacker did was shoot himself with the final bullet in the .45-caliber handgun, sheriff’s homicide Capt. Kent Wegener said.
A 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy died. Two girls, ages 14 and 15, and a 14-year-old boy were hospitalised, officials said.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the shooter was a student at the school but did not identify him. A search warrant was being obtained for his home.
“At this point in time, we have no indication of motivation or ideology,” said Paul Delacourt, the agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
Santa Clarita is a city of more than 200,000 about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of downtown LA.
The sound of gunfire sent some students running while others and staff followed recently practised security procedures.
Kyra Stapp, 17, was watching a documentary in class when she heard two gunshots. Panicked students ran in and reported the shooting.
Stapp’s class and others were herded into a teacher break room, where they locked the door and turned off the lights.
Kyra texted her mother and tried not make any noise. They exchanged messages as sirens screamed and helicopters and deputies carrying rifles and shotguns swarmed the campus. Then Kyra fell silent while officers escorted students out.
“She’s been texting me and all of a sudden she’s not,” Tracy Stapp said. “That was like the worst 10 minutes of my life, I swear.”
Shauna Orandi, 16, said she was in her Spanish class doing homework when she heard four gunshots that she initially mistook as instruments from a band class. She said a student burst into the room saying he’d seen the gunman, and her classmates were stunned into silence.
“My worst nightmare actually came true,” she said later as she left a nearby park with her father. “This is it. I’m gonna die.”