16-year-old charged as adult in Taft classroom shooting


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A 16-year-old student suspected of critically wounding another student with a shotgun at Taft Union High School was charged Monday as an adult with two counts of attempted murder, Kern County prosecutors said.

He also was charged with three counts of assault with a firearm in last Thursday’s attack. The teen had tried to shoot a second student and missed before a teacher was able to persuade him to stop, authorities said.


Prosecutors weighed several factors in their decision to try him as an adult, said Mark Pafford, chief deputy district attorney.

PHOTOS: Shooting at Taft Union High School

‘The fact that a firearm was used, the severity of injuries to [the victim], the evident premeditation and deliberation and the age of the defendant’ were considered, Pafford said.

The teen is expected to be arraigned Monday afternoon at Kern County Superior Court, Pafford said.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said last week the suspect planned the attack the night before and used a shotgun owned by his brother. A school surveillance camera captured the boy as he entered a side entrance to the campus ‘trying to conceal the shotgun,’ the sheriff said.

The video ‘showed he was nervous,’ Youngblood said.

The wounded student was on life support and in intensive care but is expected to recover, hospital officials said. The 16-year-old victim suffered injuries to the lungs and liver after shotgun pellets hit his chest and abdomen, officials at Kern County Medical Center said.


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-- Adolfo Flores