SANTA CLARITA, California (AP) — A student pulled a gun from his backpack and opened fire at a Southern California high school on Thursday, killing two students and wounding three others before shooting himself in the head on his 16th birthday, authorities said.
The attacker was hospitalised in critical condition, officials said, and investigators offered no immediate motive. The gunfire began around 7.30am at Saugus High School in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita. Authorities estimated that the suspect took just 16 seconds to pull out the weapon, shoot five classmates and turn the gun on himself.
At the time, students were “milling around” and greeting each other in an outdoor quad area, sheriff’s homicide Capt Kent Wegener said. Surveillance video showed the shooter standing still while “everyone is active around him.”
“He just fires from where he is. He doesn’t chase anybody. He doesn’t move,” Wegener said.
The suspect appeared to fire at whoever was in front of him. He had no known connection to those he shot, Wegener said.
Video showed the last thing the assailant did was shoot himself with the final bullet in the .45-calibre handgun, Wegener said. The weapon was empty when it was recovered.
A 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy died. Two girls, ages 14 and 15, were each in stable condition after being treated for gunshot wounds, according to Patricia Aidem, a spokeswoman for Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. A 14-year-old boy was treated and released from another hospital, authorities said.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the shooter was a student at the school but did not identify him. The sheriff said a biography on an Instagram account reported as possibly belonging to the teen contained the posting: “Saugus, have fun at school tomorrow.”
The message was discovered on Thursday morning after the shooting. It was unclear when it was made and by whom, the sheriff said.