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Two dead in US as pupil turns gun on schoolmates

Teen kills two pupils in California before wounding himself

Students are evacuated from Saugus High School onto a bus after a shooting at the school left two students dead and three wounded. AFP
Students are evacuated from Saugus High School onto a bus after a shooting at the school left two students dead and three wounded. AFP

Two pupils were killed and three wounded when a teenager opened fire at a southern California high school before shooting himself on his 16th birthday.

The gunman is in a critical condition with an injury to his head after the incident on Thursday.

The shooting occurred about 7.30am at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 48 kilometres north-west of downtown Los Angeles. Authorities estimated that the suspect took just 16 seconds to pull out the weapon, shoot five classmates and turn the gun on himself.

Surveillance video showed the shooter standing still in the school quadrangle while “everyone is active around him”, said police officer Kent Wegener from the sheriff's office.

“He just fires from where he is. He doesn’t chase anybody. He doesn’t move,” Mr Wegener said.

The shooter appeared to fire at random and had no known connection to the people hit.

A 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy died. Two girls, ages 14 and 15, were in good condition after being treated for gunshot wounds, according to Patricia Aidem, a spokeswoman for Providence Holy Cross Medical Centre. A 14-year-old boy was treated and released from another hospital, authorities said.

Investigators were searching the student’s home. Mr Wegener said the sheriff’s department had not received any recent calls to the boy’s house “that would indicate that there was turmoil” there.

The teenager’s father died two years ago. Two years before that, the father had been arrested amid a domestic dispute with the boy’s mother.

Fellow students and a neighbour said he was a Boy Scout who was smart, quiet and gave no indication he would become violent. One girl who knew him for years said he was not a victim of bullying and had a girlfriend.

“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

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 had 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 going to die.”

Updated: November 15, 2019 09:59 AM



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