(UPDATE Friday, 5:50pm) A 15-year old girl and a 14-year old boy were shot to death and three other students were wounded and hospitalized at an early Thursday morning mass shooting at a high school in Santa Clarita, California.On Friday, the 16-year old shooter died of a self-inflicted gun shot.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and LA County firefighters responded to a call for an active shooter at Saugus High School, which is located about 40 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.
A spokesperson for the LASD told the Los Angeles Blade Thursday afternoon that a 16-year-old girl died at hospital, and a 14-year-old boy also died at hospital.
The shooter, only identified as a 16-year-old Asian male student of the school by the LASD Homicide Bureau had shot himself in the head and died Friday.
According to a press briefing held Thursday afternoon by authorities, the gunman, who turned 16 that day, pulled a loaded .45 caliber handgun out of his backpack on the school’s open quad area and commenced firing just before classes started for the day at 7:30AM. After shooting several others he turned the weapon on himself.
Panicked parents rushed to the scene as students assisted by authorities evacuated the school.
One student, identified only by his first name, Sean, told KTLA Los Angeles he had just left his coach’s classroom when he heard shots ringing out at the school.
“I just walked out and then I heard shots,” he told KTLA. “I called my mom and she told me to go back. I just told my coach and all my teammates were in there, so we just went into lockdown.”
KTLA reported Sean was able to reunite with his mother after being evacuated from the school, unharmed.
“I felt happy, I felt relieved that I could be with my mom and I’m safe and I just, I love my mom so much. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared a little bit at first but just having the comfort of my teammates just calmed me down,” he said. “We went through it together.”
Two of the victims are being treated at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, two others are at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center and one patient is at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.
In an emailed statement released to media outlets, former Rep. Katie Hill, an alumnus of the school, wrote:
“Today, Saugus High School – my alma mater – experienced what so many of us have come to fear: an active shooter who took the life of at least one student, injuring many more. The trauma and heartache these kids and their families experienced today will undoubtedly last a lifetime.
Saugus High School was my home for my entire high school career. So many of our campaign volunteers and interns are students there, so many parents who are friends and supporters have children who they drop off there each and every day. My parents’ friends are continuing to wait in a nearby park as we speak to be reunited with their kids.
No child should go to school and fear for their life, and yet when talking to students on the campaign trail and as their Congressperson, the message they sent was loud and clear: they weren’t worried about if a shooting would happen at their school. They were simply waiting for when. Today was when. Today, we once again failed our children.”
A spokesperson for the LASD told the Los Angeles Blade that the investigation is ongoing and that Sheriff’s investigators had executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home, and were combing through social media, and additionally were seeking any mobile phone videos of the incident taken by students.
By Friday afternoon, LASD investigators had seized unregistered firearms from the shooter’s home. They are working with ATF investigators to determine the origin of the .45 caliber handgun used in Thursday’s deadly attack.