Taft Union school shooting: Boy had ‘intended targets,’ police say


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A 16-year-old student at Taft Union High School near Bakersfield had intended targets when he burst into a classroom Thursday and shot a boy in the chest and attempted to fire a 12-gauge shotgun at another student, authorities said.

The suspect fired two to four shots at the victim, who was in critical condition, before he was stopped by a teacher and a campus supervisor and talked into putting down the gun, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said.


“This is a tragedy but not as bad as we think it might have been,” Youngblood said.

PHOTOS: Shooting at Taft Union High School

A neighbor saw the student walking to the school with a gun and called 911 about 9 a.m. The suspect was supposed to be in the classroom he burst into, which was filled with about 28 students. The suspect waved the gun in different directions and after firing at the victim, aimed at another student and missed, Youngblood said.

The teacher and campus supervisor were able to evacuate the classroom before anyone else was injured. The teacher suffered a minor pellet wound to his head and another student may have suffered hearing damage, authorities said. The suspect had as many as 20 rounds in his pocket, Youngblood said.

“They did a great job of protecting the kids,” said Ed Whiting, chief of the Taft Police Department. “We can’t thank them enough for what they did today.” Authorities would not say whether the suspected shooter had any disciplinary action against him.

“Obviously, something occurred for this student to come in with a shotgun,” Youngblood said.

Classes will be canceled at the high school until Monday, when counselors will be available to assist students and staff.


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--Ann Simmons in Taft, and Nicole Santa Cruz and Kate Mather in Los Angeles