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Student opens fire in California high school

2 students dead
1/5

2 students dead

A student pulled a gun from his backpack and opened fire at a Southern California high school Thursday, killing two students and wounding three others before shooting himself in the head on his 16th birthday, authorities said.

The attacker was hospitalized in critical condition, officials said, and investigators offered no immediate motive.

The gunfire began around 7:30 a.m. at Saugus High School in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita. Authorities estimated that the suspect took just 16 seconds to pull out the weapon, shoot five classmates and turn the gun on himself.

AP
Shot himself with the final bullet
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Shot himself with the final bullet

At the time, students were ``milling around'' and greeting each other in an outdoor quad area, sheriff's homicide Capt. Kent Wegener said. Surveillance video showed the shooter standing still while ``everyone is active around him.''

``He just fires from where he is. He doesn't chase anybody. He doesn't move,'' Wegener said.

The suspect appeared to fire at whoever was in front of him. He had no known connection to those he shot, Wegener said.

Video showed the last thing the assailant did was shoot himself with the final bullet in the .45-caliber handgun, Wegener said. The weapon was empty when it was recovered.

AP
"Saugus, have fun at school tomorrow"
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"Saugus, have fun at school tomorrow"

A 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy died.

Two girls, ages 14 and 15, were each in good condition after being treated for gunshot wounds, according to Patricia Aidem, a spokeswoman for Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.

A 14-year-old boy was treated and released from another hospital, authorities said.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the shooter was a student at the school but did not identify him.

The sheriff said a biography on an Instagram account believed to belong to the teen contained the posting: ``Saugus, have fun at school tomorrow.''

The message was discovered Thursday morning after the shooting. It was unclear when it was made and by whom, the sheriff said.

AP
No indication of motivation or ideology
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No indication of motivation or ideology

It was later removed, and investigators do not know who made the change, Wegener said.

Investigators were searching the suspect's home. Wegener said the sheriff's department had not received any recent calls to the boy's house ``that would indicate that there was turmoil`` there.

``At this point in time, we have no indication of motivation or ideology,'' said Paul Delacourt, the agent in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office. Santa Clarita is a city of more than 200,000 about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of downtown LA.

The sound of gunfire sent some students running while others and staff followed recently practiced security procedures.

AP
No metal detectors
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No metal detectors

Saugus High's security is provided by one unarmed sheriff's deputy and nine ``campus supervisors'' who act as guards, said to Collyn Nielson, chief administrative officer for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

The campus is surrounded by a fence, and students enter through a limited number of gates each morning. There are a dozen security cameras but no metal detectors.

All district schools hold lockdown drills three times a year, including two in the fall that have already occurred, Nielson said.

``In speaking with staff and hearing reports, students reported they knew what to do and immediately went into lockdown mode,'' he said.

AFP
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