People hug each other during a vigil for the Saugus High School shooting victims at Central Park in Santa Clarita, California. Picture: Hans Gutknecht/The Orange County Register/SCNG via AP
People hug each other during a vigil for the Saugus High School shooting victims at Central Park in Santa Clarita, California. Picture: Hans Gutknecht/The Orange County Register/SCNG via AP

Police probe motive behind California school shooter's 16-second rampage

By Steve Gorman Time of article published Nov 15, 2019

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Santa Clarita - Just 16 seconds passed

from the time a California high school student pulled a .45

semi-automatic pistol from his backpack in an outdoor school

courtyard and emptied the weapon, killing two classmates and

wounding three more, before shooting himself in the head and

collapsing.

Police investigating the Thursday morning shooting at Saugus

High School in Santa Clarita, about 40 miles (65 km) north of

Los Angeles, said they did not yet know the motive.

The shooter's name was not released by police, who said it

was his 16th birthday. He saved his last bullet for himself, and

was in grave condition at a hospital, authorities said.

Early on Friday, two girls aged 14 and 15 were being treated

at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills,

California and were listed in good and fair condition, a

hospital spokeswoman said.

At the Henry Mayo Hospital in Santa Clarita, authorities

said a 14-year-old male was treated and released, and the other

students died.

No names of the wounded or the dead were released early on

Friday, but the two slain students were a 16-year-old girl and a

14-year-old boy.

Captain Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's

Department said surveillance video footage showed the suspect

opening fire from a single stationary position, shooting his

victims in rapid succession before turning the gun on

himself.

Emergency personnel remove an injured person following a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita. Picture: David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP

The scene at Saugus High School was reminiscent of other

mass shootings at US schools, including Marjory Stoneman

Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student

with an assault gun killed 17 people on February 14, 2018.

It was the 85th incident of gunfire at a school this year,

according to Everytown, a gun control advocacy group.

Police said the accused shooter had acted alone.

Investigators descended on his family home, blocking off the

street. They found no further danger there.

A next-door neighbor, registered nurse Jared Axen, said the

suspect had seemed introverted and sad, possibly despondent over

the loss of his father from a heart attack in December 2017.

"I would say he (the boy) was hurting and couldn’t ask for

help," Axen said of the suspect, who was a track athlete at the

school, involved in Boy Scouts and liked the outdoors, going on

hunting trips with his father.

There was no immediate word on where the suspect obtained

the weapon.

Reuters

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