Authorities probe whether Taft High shooter threatened students


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Detectives are investigating allegations that the suspected shooter at Taft Union High School threatened to kill students last year, authorities said Thursday night.

A 16-year-old student was critically wounded by the shooter, who brought a 12-gauge shotgun onto campus Thursday morning and opened fire, authorities said.


The assailant is a 16-year-old student who planned the attack Wednesday night and used a weapon owned by his brother, said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.

PHOTOS: Shooting at Taft Union High School

Angela Hayden, whose 16-year-old daughter attends Taft, said the suspected shooter allegedly threatened to kill her daughter and other students last year while they were on a school bus during a field trip to Universal Studios.

‘He was telling everyone that he had a list of people who messed with him over the years and that he was going to kill them,’ Hayden told The Times. She said the boy allegedly said his brother would be the first victim.

Hayden said her daughter complained about the incident to a vice principal and that the boy was expelled for several days. After the boy returned, Hayden said, she called the principal wanting to know why he was not permanently barred from campus. The principal declined to discuss the punishment, citing privacy concerns, according to Hayden.

“Everybody knew about this kid,” Hayden said.

School officials could not be reached Thursday night for comment. But the Kern County Sheriff’s Department said it was aware of the allegations.

‘We’re investigating that,’ Lt. Dana Albro told The Times.

The shooting stunned community members in the small town southwest of Bakersfield. Authorities said they were investigating reports that the suspect perceived that he was being bullied at school.

Hayden said that her son attended Taft and that he was harassed by students there.

‘Taft has a problem with bullies,’ Hayden said.


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— Robert J. Lopez

Doug Keeler / TaftMidway Driller