Skooter reports 01/11/13
Inside a California high school today a young gunman thought that he had been bullied for more than a year, opened fire and blasted his supposed tormentor, authorities said.
At Taft High School, the 16-year-old shooter walked into a first-period science class, and fired a 12-gauge shotgun into the victim, and again fired at another likely victim but missed, Kern County authorities said.
The young shooter believed he felt like he’s been bullied for some time by a couple students. Last night he planned the event that happened today, Sheriff Donny Youngblood said.
The boy walked off with his brother’s shotgun and was caught on surveillance video slipping into campus via a side door, trying to secretly hide the firearm, Youngblood said.
A neighbor of the young gunman, Trish Montes said he was “a short guy,” who was teased by classmates like his victim.
The fearless science teacher Ryan Heber who astonishingly talked the gunman into giving up was praised by authorities for the heroic work. He simply talk to the gunman, and bought time for petrified students to escape and for a school counselor to join the edgy talks, authorities said.
A number of students fled through a back door, while others locked themselves in a closet, according to the sheriff. Youngblood said this teacher and this counselor stood there unaware whether the young shooter was going to turn the shotgun on them. They gave students an opportunity to escape. Whatever they said forced him to put the firearm down.
The teacher and campus supervisor put the students’ welfare on top of their own safety, Taft police chief Ed Whiting said. He added that they really want to commend the teacher and campus supervisor for all they did to bring this to a very quick resolution. A job well done in protecting the kids and they can’t thank them enough for what they did today.
There were between two and four shots were fired, the teacher told cops. The juvenile shooter who had 20 shotgun rounds in his pockets, told the teacher that he didn’t want to shoot him, authorities said.
The wounded student was transported by air to Kern Medical Center in neighboring Bakersfield, and is in critical but stable condition, officials said. The teacher suffered a minor pellet wound to the head but didn’t need to be hospitalized. Meanwhile two other students, a girl and young lady were hurt in the attack but suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Shortly after the 9 a.m. attack, the campus went on lockdown, and it took hours for cops to clear out frightened, hiding students, officials said.
Taft is some 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles, and about 7,000 residents. The school has an enrollment of 900 kids, ninth through 12th grades.