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California gunman talked down by heroic school staff

A teenager in California opened fire on his fellow high school students. The Daily Shift’s Grace Treston reports on the latest in a recent series of shootings in American schools…

Emergency services at the scene of the shooting in California

Emergency services at the scene of the shooting in California

A rural high school in Taft, California, was the scene of a gun-related attack involving students on Thursday 10 January. One student is in critical condition after being shot, while two other people sustained minor injuries as an indirect result of the shooting.

The 16-year-old male gunman walked into Taft Union High School at 9.am and entered a classroom containing 28 students. The teenager carried a 12-gauge shotgun, which authorities suspect belonged to the suspect’s older brother.

Upon entering the class being taught by Ryan Heber, the gunman shot one student and attempted to open fire on others. Heber and a campus supervisor, Kim Lee Fields, subsequently began to speak to the armed student, trying to coax him into surrender while giving the other 27 students time to flee from the danger of the classroom.

Local Sheriff, Donny Youngblood said that the gunman who was a student at Taft Union High, responded to Heber, telling him: “I don’t want to shoot you”. It is claimed that he then proceeded to tell Heber the name of the other person he desired to shoot.

The gunman was arrested 20 minutes after he opened fire.

Officials have revealed their suspicions that the attack was premeditated. Upon examining of surveillance footage, the armed teenager looked anxious while entering the building with the concealed weapon.

Bullying is the apparent reason for the attack, authorities have revealed. It is claimed that the teenage gunman felt harrassed and was provoked by the students he shot and seriously injured. These claims are currently being investigated.

“Certainly he believed that the two people he targeted had bullied him, in his mind. Whether that occurred or not we don’t know yet,” Sheriff Youngblood announced.

A female student sustained minor injuries during the rush to escape the classroom, while another girl received possible hearing damage as a result of close proximity to the gun shot. It is also understood that a teacher was hit by a shotgun pellet, and is not seriously injured.

The armed security officer usually on duty at the school was not present at Taft Union High on this day, due to travel obstruction after heavy snowfall.

This violent armed attack comes less than a month after the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary school’s events, where over 20 children were killed by a gunman. The USA is in the midst of heated debate concerning gun control, and it is expected that this most recent shooting will prompt further questions as to the government’s responsibility on Americans’ right to bear arms.

Image courtesy of Star-Telegram.com
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About Grace Treston

From Mayo, studying Media with German and Irish in NUI Maynooth

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