Thursday, April 24, 2014
Tracie Cone / The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
Paramedics transport a student wounded during a shooting Thursday at a high school in Taft, Calif. Police said a student was shot and another student was taken into custody.
The Associated Press
The suspect walked in a door close to the front of the classroom and shot his classmate. When the shots were fired, Heber tried to get the more than two dozen students out a back door and engaged the shooter in conversation to distract him, Youngblood said.
"The heroics of these two people goes without saying. ... They could have just as easily ... tried to get out of the classroom and left students, and they didn't," the sheriff said. "They knew not to let him leave the classroom with that shotgun."
The teacher's father, David Heber, told the Bakersfield Californian that he had heard rumors of a school shooting but wasn't initially worried that his son's classroom would have been involved.
"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."
Youngblood said that the suspect would be charged with attempted murder. The District Attorney will decide whether he's charged as an adult, Youngblood said.
The Officials said a female student was hospitalized with possible hearing damage because the shotgun was fired close to her ear, and another girl suffered minor injuries during the scramble to flee.
Wilhelmina Reum, whose daughter Alexis Singleton is a fourth-grader at a nearby elementary school, got word of the attack while she was about 35 miles away in Bakersfield and immediately sped back to Taft.
"I just kept thinking this can't be happening in my little town," she told The Associated Press.
Officials said there's usually an armed officer on campus, but the person wasn't there because he was snowed in.
The school will be closed Friday as investigators continue to search the building. Authorities are "searching every backpack, every book," Youngblood said, to make sure the suspect acted alone.
The attack there came less than a month after a gunman massacred 20 children and six women at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., then killed himself.
That shooting prompted President Barack Obama to promise new efforts to curb gun violence. Vice President Joe Biden, who was placed in charge of the initiative, said he would deliver new policy proposals to the president by next week.