Students are escorted off of campus following a shooting at Saugus High School, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2015 in Santa Clarita, Calif. (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)

Students are escorted off of campus following a shooting at Saugus High School, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2015 in Santa Clarita, Calif. (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)

2 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self

The gunfire began around 7:30 a.m. at Saugus High School in suburban Santa Clarit

A student pulled a gun from his backpack and opened fire at a Southern California high school Thursday, killing two students and wounding three others before shooting himself in the head on his 16th birthday, authorities said.

The gunfire began around 7:30 a.m. at Saugus High School in suburban Santa Clarita, where Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responding to a torrent of 911 calls found all six students in a quad area.

Security video showed the last thing the attacker did was shoot himself with the final bullet in the .45-calibre handgun, sheriff’s homicide Capt. Kent Wegener said.

A 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy died. Two girls, ages 14 and 15, and a 14-year-old boy were hospitalized, officials said.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the shooter was a student at the school but did not identify him. A search warrant was being obtained for his home.

“At this point in time, we have no indication of motivation or ideology,” said Paul Delacourt, the agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office. Santa Clarita is a city of more than 200,000 about 30 miles (48 kilometres) northwest of downtown LA.

The sound of gunfire sent some students running while others and staff followed recently practiced security procedures.

Kyra Stapp, 17, was watching a documentary in class when she heard two gunshots. Panicked students ran in and reported the shooting.

Stapp’s class and others were herded into a teacher break room where they locked the door and turned off the lights.

Kyra texted her mother and tried not make any noise. They exchanged messages as sirens screamed and helicopters and deputies carrying rifles and shotguns swarmed the campus. Then Kyra fell silent while officers escorted students out.

“She’s been texting me and all of a sudden she’s not,” Tracy Stapp said. “That was like the worst 10 minutes of my life, I swear.”

Shauna Orandi, 16, said she was in her Spanish class doing homework when she heard four gunshots that she initially mistook as instruments from a band class. She said a student burst into the room saying he’d seen the gunman, and her classmates were stunned into silence.

“My worst nightmare actually came true,” she said later as she left a nearby park with her father. “This is it. I’m gonna die.”

Freshman Rosie Rodriguez said she was walking up the library stairs when she heard noises that “sounded like balloons” popping. She realized they were gunshots when she saw other students running.

Still carrying a backpack laden with books, she ran across the street to a home, where a person she didn’t know gave shelter to her and about 10 other students.

“I just heard a lot of kids crying. We were scared,” Rodriguez said.

A huge crowd of anxious parents gathered in the park, waiting to be reunited with their children.

Undersheriff Tim Murakami tweeted an apology to the parents, saying investigators needed to interview the students before they could be released.

Orandi said she has heard about so many school shootings that she always assumed she’d panic. But she stayed calm with the help of her teacher, who locked down the classroom.

Saugus High’s security is provided by one unarmed sheriff’s deputy and nine “campus supervisors” who act as guards, said to Collyn Nielson, chief administrative officer for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

The campus is surrounded by a fence, and students enter through a limited number of gates each morning. There are a dozen security cameras but no metal detectors.

All district schools hold lockdown drills three times a year, including two in the fall that have already occurred, Nielson said.

“In speaking with staff and hearing reports, students reported they knew what to do and immediately went into lockdown mode,” he said.

___

Antczak reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Christopher Weber, Brian Melley and Justin Pritchard in LA also contributed to this report.

Stefanie Dazio And John Antczak, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Moira Mercer spent her summer riding her e-bike around Cowichan Lake and beyond, collecting any empties she found along the way. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan 2020 in review — conclusion

What were your top stories from 2020?

Staff meetings can be difficult when everyone has his own agenda. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Garden additions at request of staff

I’ll sow the catnip in flats on the seed table inside

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson column: Snowballs fights and dead spiders

Even if it doesn’t end up how we hope, it’s the trying that matters most.

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker in Nanaimo fails at fraud attempt, slams door on business owner’s foot

VIDEO: Suspect causes pain and damage in incident downtown Friday morning

Most Read