Taft Union school shooting: ‘Mom, hurry, there’s blood everywhere’

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Cecilia Dyer could hear her niece screaming on the phone from across the room.

‘Mom, hurry, there’s blood everywhere,’ she could hear the Taft Union High School junior yelling.

The girl called Dyer’s sister at 9:08 a.m. Thursday, saying a student next to her had just been shot.

‘She was just screaming,’ Dyer said. Dryer’s sister ‘couldn’t even understand her.’


PHOTOS: Shooting at Taft Union High School

The girl was among the panicked classmates at the Kern County high school after a morning incident left one student shot, another in custody and an entire campus on lockdown.

Dyer and her sister raced to the school in town of Taft, where they stood outside waiting to hear from her niece. Authorities told the two that the students would be released soon, although witnesses would probably be held back for questioning.

‘We’re all shaken,’ Dyer said. ‘This is just terrible. Not something you would ever think to happen in your own school.’

Sheriff’s officials said one student was shot in a science building and airlifted to a hospital in Bakersfield, about 40 miles northeast of the small town of Taft. Another student was also taken to an area hospital with a possible injury, Kern County sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt said, although officials believe the student was not actually hit by gunfire.

The condition of the injured student was not immediately known.

The suspected gunman, also a student, was taken into custody, sheriff’s officials said. Pruitt said a shotgun had been recovered from the scene.

Students were evacuated to a football field, and as of 11:30 a.m., authorities were still searching the building.

Wendi McDonald, whose daughter is a fourth grader at a nearby elementary school, said she heard about the shooting from a friend. She tried to call her daughter’s school, but said the phone line was busy for 30 minutes. Given the Dec. 14 massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 20 students and six adults dead, McDonald said she feared the worst.

‘Of course, you hit the panic button and think the worst,’ she said. ‘I’m just glad everyone here is OK and hoping everyone is going to be OK.’


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— Kate Mather

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