Teacher talks down student with shotgun, police say

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A student, 16, shows up late to class with a 12-gauge shotgun, authorities say
  • NEW: He allegedly shoots one classmate but misses his second intended target
  • NEW: A teacher wounded by a pellet talks to the gunman
  • NEW: The teacher and a campus supervisor persuade assailant to drop the gun

(CNN) -- The 16-year-old student showed up late to class armed with a 12-gauge shotgun.

With the first period half over, the student took direct aim and hit one classmate in the 28-student classroom in the science building of Taft Union High School in Taft, California, authorities said.

The gunman then aimed specifically at another classmate but missed, authorities said.

"There was some conversation about bullying, but we have not confirmed that that is an issue at this point," Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told reporters in trying to explain the motivation of Thursday's school shooting in Taft, about 30 miles west of Bakersfield, California.

"But obviously something occurred that led the student to come in with a shotgun," the sheriff said.

The wounded student, also 16, was in critical but stable condition Thursday, the sheriff said.

Two other students -- both girls -- suffered injuries in the shooting and confusion, Youngblood said. One girl apparently close to the shotgun blast was taken to a hospital with hearing damage, authorities said. The second girl received minor injuries trying to flee, authorities said.

Giffords, Kelly launch anti-gun group

The gunman was in custody Thursday after he was talked into dropping the firearm by his teacher and another school staff member, said authorities, who weren't releasing names of the gunman or the school personnel.

As the shooting unfolded, the teacher in the classroom evacuated his students out of a back door. Then, instead of running for his own life, he engaged the student gunman in a conversation, authorities said.

The teacher suffered a pellet wound to the head from one of the shots fired earlier, authorities said.

The conversation seemed to be a diversion to allow the remaining students to escape, the sheriff said.

The teacher was joined by the campus supervisor -- a campus monitor on the school's staff -- and both of them persuaded the student to drop the shotgun, the sheriff said.

"They stayed and probably distracted him and probably allowed students to get out of the classroom," Youngblood said.

"They engaged in a conversation that talked him into putting that shotgun down that had been discharged at least once," Youngblood added. "He said, 'I wasn't aiming at you,' and said the name of the student he was aiming at."

Theater gunman 'intended to kill them all'

The student gunman, who was taken into custody, was found to have about 20 rounds in his pocket, Youngblood said.

The teacher and campus supervisor were described as heroes Thursday, when school personnel had coincidentally discussed earlier the campus lockdown process in case of an emergency, the interim superintendent said.

"We don't know what would have happened. This is a tragedy but not as bad as it might have been," Youngblood said.

Added Taft Police Chief Ed Whiting, "We commend the teacher and campus supervisor for all they did to bring this to a quick resolution before anybody else was harmed."

An armed police officer is assigned to the school but he wasn't at the school at the time of the shooting because snowfall in the area prevented his arrival, authorities said.

Investigators recovered a shotgun they believe was used in the incident, said Ray Pruitt of the Kern County Sheriff's Office.

Former Marines differ on gun control

The wounded victim was airlifted to a hospital in Bakersfield, Pruitt said.

Authorities were still searching and securing the school Thursday afternoon. Investigators also were searching student backpacks to ensure no additional firearms were in the school, Youngblood said.

"There are still some students on campus," Pruitt said late Thursday morning. "We're still searching from building to building because we want to make sure we don't have suspects outstanding."

Tia Savea, who lives across the street from Taft's science building, said she saw a youth, about 15 or 16 years of age, walk by her window with a gun shortly before the shooting.

She thought the gun was a toy, she said.

The youth walked into the school, and Savea then heard two distinct shots, she said. Her son is a 10th grader at the high school, she said.

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy expressed sympathies to the Taft community, which is in his district.

"I am deeply saddened and troubled by news of the shooting," the Republican lawmaker said.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said her father attended Taft Union High, which she has visited over the years.

"Today comes word of another tragic shooting at an American school," Feinstein said. "At this moment my thoughts and prayers are with the victims, and I wish them a speedy recovery.

"But how many more shootings must there be in America before we come to the realization that guns and grievances do not belong together?" Feinstein said.

Read more: Shootings at U.S. schools

CNN's Kate Bolduan, Steve Brusk and Kyung Lah contributed to this report.

0
Comments »
  • Print
  • Email
  • More sharing
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Capitalbay. Capitalbay accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.
What's next
By CapitalBay Online 01/10/2013 11:09:00
View All

MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS

ENTERTAINMENT

Sienna Miller Wears flirty Embroidered Frock in London

She's been treading the boards in the new production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof in London's West End. And Sienna Miller was the picture

ITV Summer Party: Lorraine Kelly and Stars Lead Glamour

Just a day before, the salaries of the BBC's biggest stars were released to much controversy - with the pay gap between the male and

Khloe & Tristan Go House Hunting S*** Just. Got. Real

Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson might be shacking up together in a new crib .. kinda. Khloe and her NBA superstar BF spent their Wednesday house

Eva Longoria Flaunts her Curves for Marbella Shopping Trip

Her time in Marbella has been a series of glamorous red carpet events and sizzling beach trips so far.  But Eva Longoria opted to unwind with

Lily Collins Slams Fashion Industry for 'Small Girls'

She battled with an eating disorder in her teens and plays an anorexia sufferer in new Netflix film To The Bone in a bid to

Katie Price claims she was paid MORE than ex-husband Peter Andre for Joint Magazine Interviews

Katie Price has reveals that she was paid more than ex-husband Peter Andre for joint magazine interviews because they felt she was worth the money. The

Monica Lewinsky praises Jay-Z for admitting to infidelity

Ex-White House intern discussed Jay-Z's cheating admissions on his album 4:44 'Having been called out publicly by his wife in her album... Jay-Z knew his fans

Recent Comments