UPDATED with shooter dying: Two teenage students have died and a third is in critical condition after a shooting Thursday at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, a city roughly 30 miles north of Hollywood. Three other students also were wounded in the attack including the gunman.
The gunman, a 16-year-old student at the school, died Friday at a local hospital after authorities said he shot himself in the head after the attack.
A 16-year-old female student and a 14-year-old male student died at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, where at least four of the victims were taken for treatment. Another teenage boy is in critical condition at the hospital and a fourth is in good condition, a spokesman said. At least one other victim was taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center; that person’s condition is unknown.
“I hate to have Saugus be added to the names of Columbine, Parkland, Sandy Hook, but it’s a reality that affects us all throughout the nation,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a late-morning news conference,
Capt. Ken Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau said the initial 911 call came in at 7:38 a.m. When the first deputies arrived two minutes later, they found six people with gunshot wounds in the school’s quad area. Among them was the shooter – a boy whose 16th birthday was today, authorities said. They did not identify him but said his girlfriend and mother are being interviewed at a local Sheriff’s station.
Wegener said deputies have reviewed the school’s surveillence video of the shooting and witnessed the shooter pull a .45 semiautomatic handgun from his backpack and shoot five people and then himself. Deputies recovered the weapon, which had no bullets remaining, Wegener said.
LA County Undersheriff Tim Murakami said rumors that the suspect made threats against the school on social media are being investigated.
Multiple federal agencies including the FBI and ATF also are part of the shooting investigation.
Saugus High has been evacuated and secured, and deputies say they are in the process of interviewing every student. All neighboring schools were put on lockdown, but deputies since have lifted those restrictions.
Los Angeles TV stations went live with coverage of the shooting within a half-hour, and national cable news networks broke in later to cover it.
Santa Clarita is the third-largest city in Los Angeles County. The area is home to many people in the entertainment industry, not to mention various studio lots such as the Disney Ranch and Melody Ranch. The latter is where HBO’s Westworld and Deadwood and many Quentin Tarantino films have been lensed, among several other shows and film productions.
Like other schools in the Santa Clarita Valley, Saugus High — which counts about 2,300 students — is notable for having a very competitive baseball program, a grooming ground for MLB prospects.