A California high school student pulled a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun from his backpack and fired on fellow students as classes began, killing two and wounding three others.
Local media are identifying the gunman as Nathaniel Berhow, citing police sources and neighbours. It was his 16th birthday.
The teenage gunman survived a self-inflicted gunshot to the head and was in grave condition, law enforcement officials said.
#LASD Our hearts go out to the victims of the #SaugusHighShooting earlier today. We know that social media can be a valuable tool, & we appreciate all the ways it is used to inform & strengthen communities. But social media also can quickly spread false, misleading & hurtful info
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) November 14, 2019
“Video clearly shows the subject in the quad, withdraw a gun from his backpack, shoot and wound five people and then shoot himself,” Cpt Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told reporters.
The two slain students were a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. Two other girls, aged 14 and 15, were wounded, as was a 14-year old boy, Cpt Wegener said.
Investigators said they did not yet know what could have driven the student to carry out the shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, 65 km north of Los Angeles.
After the tragic #SaugusShooting, we mourn for those lost today & pray for those in the #SantaClarita community; whose scars won't soon heal. I've already seen hope, and strength through the tears of the survivors, who will hold their loved ones tighter tonight. #saugusstrong pic.twitter.com/LBKjMX9TWF
— Sergeant Benjamin (@LASDBen) November 14, 2019
Police said the shooter had acted alone and descended on his family home, blocking off the street. They found no further danger there.
Saugus now joins an ever growing list of schools remembered as sites of gun tragedies, such as Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Columbine High School in Colorado, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida.
— SCV Sheriff (@SCVSHERIFF) November 14, 2019
There was no immediate word on where the teen gunman obtained the weapon.
This is at least the 85th incident of gunfire on school grounds this year, according to Everytown, an advocacy group for stricter gun laws.