Anthony Breznican had just dropped off his daughter and son at school Thursday when his wife alerted him to news of a shooter at nearby Saugus High School in Santa Clarita.
Breznican, 43, sprinted back to North Park Elementary, where parents began piling into the lobby as details emerged, and gradually started pulling their children from the area.
“You’ve got kids in little Pilgrim outfits planning to do their Thanksgiving pageant today walking out in tears,” Breznican said.
His 10-year-old daughter, a fifth-grader, told him while breaking down in tears that a kid had hurt people at Saugus High School.
“The older ones knew exactly what happened.” The younger students processed their fear differently.
Breznican said that his son, a 6-year-old first-grader, said he heard that the culprit was Venom – a Spider-Man villain.
Breznican said that several of the students gathered at his house, where they’ve been distracted by the television in an attempt to return to some semblance of normalcy.
The shooting at Saugus High School left two people dead and at least four others injured. The suspect, a teen who went to the school, was in custody, authorities said.
Although Santa Clarita has been considered a suburban paradise, he said that it has not been untouched by violence.
Some members of the community were killed in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
Others had friends affected by last year’s Thousand Oaks shooting. And the city itself has felt the direct threat of fear.
“Santa Clarita had this threat of this looming over its head for a long time. My daughter started kindergarten in 2014, and on the first day, there was a parking lot full of sheriff’s deputies because a kid posted to Instagram that he was going to shoot up the school,” he said. “You’d be crazy to think that something like that couldn’t happen here.”