Update 12:40 p.m. In the wake of the Newtown massacre, a shooting incident at a Kern Co. high school this morning is adding to already jangled nerves about gun violence in schools. A 16-year-old student is in custody for allegedly shooting a classmate and firing but missing at another student. Details from the Kern County Sheriff's Department press conference...
- The alleged shooter was a 16-year-old student at the school, Taft Union High School in Kern Co., who did not show up to science class this morning. But in the middle of that class, he appeared with a 12-gauge shotgun and fired at a fellow student, also 16, who is now in critical but stable condition. Another student is being checked for hearing damage sustained from the sound of the gunshot.
- The shooter then named another student he intended to shoot, fired at that student and missed.
- It's believed that two to four shots total were fired. The suspect had about 20 rounds of ammunition on him.
- After the initial shots, the class teacher and the campus supervisor who had arrived engaged the suspect in conversation, allowing for the class to evacuate. The suspect then put the shotgun down and was taken into custody. At some point, the suspect told the teacher he didn't want to shoot him. From the Bakersfield Californian: "The suspect pointed the gun in several directions while the teacher and campus supervisor talked to him." Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who was at the press conference, said "I want to commend the teacher. I think he saved many lives today."
- From the Bakersfield Californian: "Family identified that teacher, who officials said suffered a pellet gun wound to the head, as Ryan Heber. His father, David Heber, said he had heard rumors of a shooting at the school but wasn't initially worried that his son was a target. "His students like him a whole bunch," said Heber, 70. "He's not the kind of teacher a student would try to hurt. He's definitely someone who could talk a kid down in an emergency."
- Someone saw the student enter the school campus with the gun had called 911, allowing for law enforcement to quickly arrive on the scene.
- From the Sheriff's Department: "We have not confirmed that [bullying] was an issue at this point. But obviously something occurred for this student to come in with a shotgun... There had been a dialogue that’s critical between the victim and suspect before this morning."
- There is normally an armed Taft Police Dept officer on campus who was not at school today.
- Reporters kept asking about an alleged "hit list" that the suspect had been suspended for last year. Authorities could not confirm that.
- Congressman McCarthy was asked whether he thought this would add fuel to a gun control push, but he said all the facts needed to be determined first.
More from the Bakersfield Californian.
Map of the area...
Update 12:15 p.m. 23ABC Bakersfield is reporting that one of the shooting victims was a student and one a teacher. A suspect is in custody as is the weapon allegedly used -- a shotgun.