Two teenage girls remained hospitalized Friday but are expected to recover from their injuries following a deadly shooting that gripped Saugus High School in Santa Clarita a day earlier.
A 15-year-old girl arrived Thursday at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center with a gunshot wound below her belly button, authorities said. The bullet, which had lodged in her hip, was removed by doctors. A 14-year-old girl arrived at the same hospital with a gunshot wound to the left shoulder and lower abdomen, doctors said Friday.
Both girls are expected to be released in the next day or two. The teens are staying in the same room and are surrounded by their families.
“Once we were done with the workup, they were both sitting up, smiling and talking,” Dr. Boris Borazjani said.
On Thursday morning, not long before the start of the second period of the school day, a 16-year-old boy pulled a .45-caliber pistol from his backpack and began shooting his schoolmates, said sheriff’s officials.
A 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy died at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia soon after. On Friday morning, coroner‘s officials identified the girl as Gracie Anne Muehlberger.
One student, a 14-year-old boy, was treated and released Thursday afternoon from the hospital.
Suspect Nathaniel Berhow, who authorities said ended the 16-second spur of violence with a bullet to his head, was listed in critical condition Friday morning, officials said.
All schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District were closed Friday out of respect for the victims and their families. However, district counselors will be available for students and staff at Grace Baptist Church, Deputy Supt. Mike Kuhlman said.
“The gun violence experienced across our nation, and all too often on school campuses, has prompted our district, like others, to conduct staff and student trainings for these unthinkable events. We take the training seriously; we prayed that we would never need it. Yet today, our brilliant staff bravely and vigilantly went into action,” he said in a statement.
After the gunfire erupted, the scene at the school at 21900 Centurion Way was chaotic. Many of the injured were treated in a grassy area on campus before being placed on gurneys and taken to ambulances in the school’s parking lot. Some students remained locked in classrooms for more than an hour as first responders swarmed the campus.
Eventually, they were led off the school grounds by deputies. Some were in tears. As they walked, one student asked aloud a question on the minds of many others: “What kind of a world is this?”
There have been 92 mass shootings in the U.S. since 17 people were gunned down in February 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. That count includes only shootings in which at least five people were injured (other than the shooter) and at least two died. Four of those shootings were at high schools or colleges.
Though investigators were searching the teen suspect’s papers and computer hard drives for any clues as to his motive, none immediately emerged, said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. A school surveillance camera recorded the attack, but the video did not make clear whether the boy targeted his victims or fired at random.
He appeared to know how many shots he had fired and left the final bullet for himself, Villanueva said. It was all over too quickly for anyone to intervene, although law enforcement was on the scene within moments.
“I regret to inform, it’s a sad day in Saugus,” Villanueva said Thursday.
Authorities are asking any witnesses who have not already spoken to police to contact the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
Times staff writers James Queally and Sarah Parvini contributed to this report.
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