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2 teens killed in Calif. school shooting; attack came on suspect's birthday, officials say

Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- Two students were killed and three other teens were wounded in a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita on Thursday morning, authorities said.

Shots rang out just after 7:30 a.m. when students at the school at were scheduled to be in their first-period class. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the department got a call about the gunfire at 7:38 a.m. Two minutes later, he said, sheriff's deputies arrived at the school and found six students, including the suspected shooter, with gunshot wounds.

Paramedics swarmed the campus, treating the wounded, while deputies, the SWAT team and federal officials combed nearby neighborhoods searching for a 16-year-old boy they thought had fled the campus after the shooting. After roughly an hourlong search, authorities said the suspect had been apprehended.

Authorities did not release the teen's name, but said Thursday is his 16th birthday. He is being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to the head, Los Angeles sheriff's Capt. Kent Wegener said.

Wegener said the teen was standing in the quad when he pulled a .45 caliber handgun from his backpack and opened fire at other students, before turning the gun on himself.

Four people from the school were transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital for treatment. Two students, a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, died there. A 15-year-old girl, a 14-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy are being treated. Their conditions were not immediately known.


The scene at the high school was chaotic, with teenagers walking in a line behind armed law enforcement officials with their arms raised in the air immediately after the shooting. Many of the injured were being treated in a grassy area on the campus before being placed on gurneys and transported to ambulances in the school's parking lot. At least one person was found wounded in the school's choir room, authorities said.

Some students remained locked in classrooms for more than an hour as authorities searched for the shooter. Eventually, they were led off the campus by deputies. Some were in tears. As they walked, one student asked aloud a question on the minds of many others across the state: "What kind of a world is this?"

"You hear about it all the time, and it's finally (happened) at home," parent Tony Barrett said. "You always see it on the news and don't think it'll happen to you."

Andrei Mojica, 17, was in his AP Government class going over a worksheet when his teacher went outside and saw people running. Nobody in class panicked until somebody opened the door and said there was a shooter on campus. His heart sank.


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