A teenage gunman who opened fire at a Southern California high school Thursday morning shot five students, two of whom have died, before shooting himself in the head, officials said.
The suspect, whom authorities described as an Asian male, whose 16 th birthday was on the day of the shooting at Saugus High School, was in “grave” condition at a hospital, Los Angeles County authorities said.
The students who died were a 16 – year-old female and a 14 – year -old male. All of the victims and the suspect attend the school in Santa Clarita.
Three other students, a 14 – year-old girl, a 14 – year-old boy and a 15 – year-old girl,were also shot in the school’s quad before classes began Thursday, officials said at a news conference.
“I hate to have Saugus be added to the names of Columbine, Parkland, Sandy Hook, but it’s a reality that affects us all throughout the nation, something we’re going to have to deal with, “said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
First responders arrived at the school within two minutes of the initial report of the shooting just after 7: 30 am , *** (A) 45 semi-automatic pistol with no bullets left in it was recovered from the scene, and investigators are o btaining a search warrant for the suspect’s home. They were also interviewing his girlfriend and mother.
Investigators said they believed the shooter acted alone, and had not determined a motive for the shooting.
Authorities engaged in an intensive search for the suspect after the shooting, not immediately realizing that he one of the six people wounded.
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“This is an active shooter situation,” a tweet from the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s office said before the suspect was identified. “If you live in neighborhoods anywhere near Saugus High, PLEASE LOCK DOORS and stay inside. If you see suspect, male dark clothing, in backyards, etc. CALL 911. “
” Parents, deputies are on scene everywhere protecting your children, “a tweet from the sheriff’s office said .
We have fire on scene and multiple units responding from other sheriff’s stations to assist.
– SCV Sheriff (@SCVSHERIFF)November 14, 2019
The Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s office tweeted just before 8 am local time that the public should avoid the area of Saugus High School, which is in the county of Los Angeles, about 40 miles north of the city of Los Angeles. Minutes later, the office said people were reporting that shots had been fired at the school.
Student Sharon Orelana Cordova told NBC Los Angeles that she was doing homework when she saw people running so she started running too. “When I got out, I saw this person lying down on the ground, and I saw blood all over. It was really scary, I was really really scared. I didn’t know what was going on,” she said.
Saugus was placed on lockdown as they were element elementary schools and all of the schools in Saugus’ William S. Hart Union High School District, officials said.
Aerial video showedstudents with their hands raised, being escorted by deputies away from the school of about 2, 300 students,NBC Los Angelesreported. They were transported from the campus on school buses with armed deputies on board.
An area was set up for parents to reunify with students at a park about three miles from the school.
A statement from Mike Kuhlman, deputy superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District, said school officials were “in the process of formulating a plan to care for our school and our community – and will continue sharing updates as we learn more – including the plan for the days ahead. “
“Our hearts go out to the families of those affected by this terrible incident. Words are insufficient in times such as these,” the statement said.
Gov. Governor Gavin Newsom said his office was monitoring the situation and in communication with law enforcement.
White House spokesman Judd Deere told The Associated Press that President Donald Trump was also monitoring reports on the incident.
CORRECTION(Nov. 14, 2019, 3: 13 pm) An earlier version of this story misstated the status of the suspect in a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California. The suspect shot himself in the head and is in grave condition in a hospital; he has not died.