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Saugus High student saw classmates running for their lives: 'I knew something bad happened'

Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- Denzel Abesamis, a senior at Saugus High School, was about to make a turn into campus when he saw classmates running out.

"I automatically made a detour to leave because I knew something bad happened," he said over text.

He called a friend who he knew was at school, and she said that there was a shooter on campus and that she was hiding in a classroom with five other students.

Authorities said a gunman wearing black shot at least five people. Two were critically wounded. Sources described the gunman as a student.

Several students were placed on gurneys and taken to ambulances in the school's parking lot.

Parents rushed to the campus. Many students reported seeing people running from the section of the school where the shooting appeared to begin.

Abesamis said that during his freshman year they'd also had a lockdown after reports of a threat.

"I've always been worried (that) something like this would happen," he said. "Since then, Saugus has emphasized the importance of making sure to always be cautious of anything that may happen, like an active shooter."


The shooting came two months after six students at the high school were detained on felony criminal threats after authorities were alerted to threats the teenagers had made online. A William S. Hart Union School District staff member discovered the social media posts "regarding committing acts of school violence" and alerted authorities, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Detectives and deputies quickly investigated and determined which young people had made the posts, according to the agency.

It's unclear if those threats were connected the shooting Thursday.

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