Photo: via 23ABC Live Stream
At least two people were shot at a California high school this morning, ABC 23 is reporting. The shooting was reported around 9 a.m. local time and the shooter was reportedly taken into custody about 20 minutes later.
The unnamed shooter was a student at the school who didn’t show up for his morning class, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said in a press conference.
“He then interrupted the class halfway through it armed with a shotgun,” Youngblood said.
The gunman shot a 16-year-old who was in the classroom at Taft Union High School in Taft, Calif. That student is now in critical condition at the hospital, Youngblood said.
Police believe the victim was an intended target.
The gunman tried to shoot a second student but an unnamed teacher and an unnamed campus supervisor began talking to the shooter and eventually convinced him to put the gun down.
The teacher received a minor wound to the head.
“When I talked to him this morning he was fine,” Youngblood said of the teacher.
Police believe the second targeted student was also an intended victim.
“He had intended targets, there was no question,” Youngblood said.
The suspect is in custody. When he was arrested he had “numerous rounds in his pockets,” Youngblood said.
Reporters at the press conference repeatedly asked police if the suspect had been suspended from the school, citing reports from multiple parents that the gunman had a hit list. However, police would not confirm such details.
The shooting reportedly happened on the second floor of the high school’s science building.
ABC 7 was the first to tweet the news, reporting that students were being evacuated from the school.
Students were evacuated to the school’s football field, according to multiple sources.
ABC 23 reported it received phone calls from people hiding in closets inside the school.
Taft, Calif. is about two hours north of Los Angeles and about 40 miles southwest of Bakersfield.
The shooting in California comes almost one month after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Gunman Adam Lanza killed his mother, 20 students, and six teachers before fatally shooting himself.
Since the Dec. 14 shooting, at least 409 people were killed by guns.
Twitter users were outraged at the most recent incident and many called for major change.
Last year seemed filled with mass shootings, from the massacre at an Aurora, Colo., movie theatre to the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
There was also a shooting in August at a Baltimore-area high school. One student was shot and the gunman, also a student, was taken into custody.
While the rash of gun violence has prompted many to call for a complete overhaul of gun laws, the National Rifle Association proposed a radically different strategy the week after Newtown.
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre suggested the best solution was to place armed guards in every school in the country.
But, according to The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, Taft High School does have a uniform deputy sheriff monitoring the campus throughout the day.
Youngblood confirmed there is normally a guard at the school but the guard wasn’t there today because he was snowed in.
As 2013 kicked off, Vice President Joe Biden revealed Wednesday that President Barack Obama can take executive action in the fight against gun violence.
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