Teen Suspect in California School Shooting Is Now in Custody

“We didn’t know if he was behind us. We just learned to run.”
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Early Thursday morning, a California town north of Los Angeles became the backdrop for the latest American school shooting tragedy — leaving at least one young woman dead and four injured.

Local law enforcement received reports of shots fired at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita at around 7:45 a.m., just as kids were arriving on campus to begin the day.

Two of the other victims were described as being in critical condition. The suspect, described as a 15-year-old Asian male wearing black clothing, was taken into custody following a brief but tense manhunt that led the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to urge residents to “lock doors and stay inside.” Nearby elementary schools were also placed on lockdown.

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Aerial footage showed law enforcement evacuating students from the 2,500-student school, leading them away from the campus in single-file, and patients being brought out on stretchers.

“We didn’t know if he was behind us,” one student, accompanied by her mother, later told CNN. “We just learned to run.”

Students interviewed by media at the scene described hearing five shots, four of them in quick succession.

Two nearby hospitals received victims, three of whom were described as being in critical condition. A reporter from a local NBC affiliate wrote on Twitter that one of the victims was discovered in the choir room. Others were found in the nurse’s office. The suspect is now being treated at a hospital after surviving a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the sheriff.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said that staff from the Department of Mental health were deployed to provide support to the students.

While the situation was still unfolding later Thursday morning, parents of students at the school took to social media to express their anxieties. “Waiting for my daughter,” wrote Anthony Breznican, a film journalist for Vanity Fair. “Hearing all sorts of terrifying, unconfirmed reports via the parents. Won’t share because who knows for sure. Feels like a bad dream.”

Former Congresswoman Katie Hill attended Saugus High School, located about 35 miles from downtown Los Angeles, and talked to CNN to describe what she’d been seeing.

“I went to Saugus. I live in Saugus now,” Hill told CNN. “You can see three helicopters and you can hear the sirens from my backyard right now.”

A spokesperson for President Trump said he was monitoring the situation in Santa Clarita. “The White House encourages all those in the area to follow the advice of local law enforcement and first responders.”

This is a developing story …

Cover: Students are comforted as they wait to be reunited with their parents following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)