Two students, aged 16 and 14, were killed and three others were wounded by a gunman who opened fire at a California high school, officials say.
Shortly before classes started on Thursday at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, the victims died in a brief 16-second gun attack. The attack came on the suspect’s 16th birthday, named as fellow student by US media, Nathaniel Berhow.
Then the suspect shot himself in the head and is in a critical state. Students and teachers talked about how they barricaded themselves in classrooms amid chaotic scenes, performing an active shooter drill that has been implemented by many schools in recent years following deadly attacks across the country.
On Thursday, LA county sheriff Alex Villanueva said it was first reported at 07:38 local time (15:38 GMT), adding police were on the scene within two minutes.
Sheriff’s Captain Kent Wegener said, The suspect was standing in the school courtyard when he took a .45-calibre semi-automatic pistol from his backpack and opened fire for about 16 seconds before turning the gun on himself.
Capt Wegener said, “He just fires from where he is. He doesn’t chase anybody. He doesn’t move,”
For more than an hour, students barricaded themselves under an active shooter drill in classrooms as police tried to determine whether the gunman was still at large. Six people suffering from gunshot wounds were found by officers and transferred to local hospitals. Earlier, the suspect was named as one of the wounded.
The names of the dead and not released yet. They were a girl of 16 and a boy of 14. Two girls, aged 14 and 15, and a 14-year-old boy were the three injured, also still unnamed. They’re all in a stable state.
The suspect had no known connection to the victims, Capt Wegener said.