One person was killed and least five others were injured in a shooting Thursday at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, and the suspect — believed to be a student at the campus — was tracked down by sheriff’s deputies and taken to a hospital for treatment of unknown injuries.
There was no immediate word on whether the person who died was a student or staff member at the school.
The shooting was reported about 7:40 a.m. at the campus at 21900 Centurion Way, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The gunfire sent some students racing off campus, while others reported barricading themselves inside classrooms.
Sheriff’s deputies swarmed the campus, which was immediately locked down, along with two neighboring elementary schools.
The suspect, described only as a possibly 15-year-old Asian male wearing dark clothing, walked or ran from the campus after the shooting, prompting a massive law enforcement dragnet through the area. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the gunman appeared to have been a student.
Shortly before 10 a.m., Villanueva announced that the suspect was in custody and being treated at a hospital, despite multiple media reports that the suspect had died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department reported that six patients had been transported from the scene. Officials at Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia initially said they were treating four patients from Saugus High School — one female and two males who were in critical condition, and another male who was in good condition. The hospital later confirmed that the female patient had died.
There was no immediate word on the condition of the other two patients. It was unclear if the shooter was among the patients at Henry Mayo Hospital.
After the shooting, the high school and all other schools in the William S. Hart Unified High School District were placed on lockdown as a precaution. The lockdown was lifted about 90 minutes afterward for all but Saugus High School and Arroyo Seco Junior High. By 10:30 a.m., sheriff’s investigators had thoroughly searched and evacuated Saugus High, and all remaining lockdowns were lifted.
A sheriff’s SWAT team was assigned to the investigation, as were agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Shaken parents, many in tears over the safety of their children, flocked to the area. Central Park, at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, was established as a reunification point for parents and students from the school. Parents could be seen milling around area streets waiting.
As students filtered out of the campus, some ran to the line of teens and hugged the children in tears.
A parent waiting to be reunited with her child told KNX Newsradio that she had been in touch with her 16-year-old daughter, who was in a choir class when a wounded student stumbled into the classroom. Her daughter and at least one other teen worked to staunch the bleeding, she said, but had no other information about the condition of the injured student.
Another parent told the station the suspect had posted what can now be viewed as an ominous message on his Instagram account. The message says simply, “Saugus have fun at school tomorrow.”
One female student told reporters after the shooting she heard the first gunshot and thought it was a balloon popping.
“The second and the third one is when everyone knew … it was gunfire,” she said, adding that student began scrambling for cover.
“I felt like I was running for my life,” she said. “… At that moment I just prayed and prayed that everyone was OK and safe.”
The girl said student had not heard of potential threats targeting the campus.
“We never heard of any threats or any problems,” she said. “This just suddenly happened. Yesterday was a normal day, and now we’re here getting evacuated from our school.”
The White House released a statement saying President Donald Trump “is monitoring the ongoing reports of a school shooting in Santa Clarita, CA. The White House encourages all those in the area to follow the advice of local law enforcement and first responders.”
In response to the shooting, police patrols were stepped up at some other Southland school districts. Long Beach and La Verne police said they would be adding patrols at campuses. Los Angeles School Police said officers “remain vigilant throughout our campuses.”
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