It was a dark day for Los Angeles County as a gunman, who was a student, opened fire on campus on November 14.
November 14, Thursday morning, began on a somber note at the Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, California when a gunman opened fire on the campus. Two students, aged 16 and 14, lost their lives and three others were injured at the secondary school, BBC reported officials as saying.
The attack by the male gunman lasted for 16 seconds after he pulled out a .45 calibre semiautomatic pistol from his backpack on what happened to be his 16th birthday. The motive for the attack is not known. After opening fire for 16 seconds, he shot himself in the head and is in a critical condition.
Two law enforcement sources identified the suspect as Nathaniel Berhow to CNN, but the Sheriff's office has not given out his name officially. According to classmates and neighbors, he was a good student, an athlete, and a Boy Scout. He had been struggling after the recent death of his father, a neighbor added. Those who knew him found it hard to reconcile the two sides of him.
The attack on the morning of November 14 stunned the community. The suspect opened fire just after 7:30 a.m. and did not target anyone in particular. He shot whoever was nearby, Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was quoted as saying by the NYTimes.
The first responders on the scene were off-duty law enforcement officers who were there to drop their children at the school, said Alex Villanueva, sheriff of Los Angeles County.
It was an emotional scene outside the school once the children were reunited with their parents. Many nervous parents stood outside waiting for their children to be returned to them safely after hearing about the attack. Some parents found out about the attack from their kids who texted them from inside the school.
A video of the shooting has been found and when the pistol was found it had no bullets in it. Many students had barricaded themselves in the classroom as they were trained for an active shooting situation because of in-school drills.
The students who died were a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. Among the injured victims, who are all in stable condition, are a 14-year-old girl, a 15-year-old girl, and a 14-year-old boy. The suspect is also injured and in critical condition.
Later, at night, when the community came together to mourn the fallen, Pastor David Hegg addressed a gathering of hundreds of people at the Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, according to LATimes. "We’re not here to diminish the pain that we feel. We’re not here to anesthetize it. We’re also not here to put God on the stand... We’re here to be reminded that we’re not alone," he said.