Friday, April 17, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Staffers talk down teen gunman

By
From page A2 | January 11, 2013 |

TAFT (AP) — A 16-year-old student armed with a shotgun walked into a rural California high school on Thursday, shot one student and fired at others and missed before a teacher and another staff member talked him into surrendering, officials said.

The teen victim was in critical but stable condition, and the suspect, whose pockets were stuffed with ammunition, was still being interrogated, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said at a news conference Thursday evening.

The suspect used a shotgun that belonged to his brother and went to bed Wednesday night with a plan to shoot two fellow students, Youngblood said.

Surveillance video shows the alleged shooter trying to conceal the gun as he nervously entered Taft Union High School through a side entrance after school had started Thursday morning.

When the shots were fired, teacher Ryan 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. Campus supervisor Kim Lee Fields responded to a call of shots fired and also began talking to the teen.

“They talked him into putting that shotgun down. He in fact told the teacher, ‘I don’t want to shoot you,’ and named the person that he wanted to shoot,” 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 shooter didn’t show up for first period, then interrupted the class of 28 students.

Youngblood said the suspect alleges the two students he targeted had bullied him for more than a year, but the sheriff couldn’t confirm the allegations.

“Certainly he believed that the two people he targeted had bullied him, in his mind. Whether that occurred or not we don’t know yet,” Youngblood said.

Youngblood did not release the student’s disciplinary record, saying he didn’t have it.

The shotgun is believed to belong to the boy’s brother and was in the boy’s home, Youngblood said.

The Sheriff’s Department did not release the boy’s name because he was a juvenile and had yet to be charged. But many students and community members said they knew the boy and said he was often teased, including Alex Patterson, 18, who went to Taft with the suspect before graduating last year.

“He comes off as the kind of kid who would do something like this,” Patterson said. “He talked about it a lot, but nobody thought he would.”

Trish Montes, who lived next door to the suspect, said he was “a short guy” and “small” who was teased about his stature by many, including the victim.

“Maybe people will learn not to bully people,” Montes said. “I hate to be crappy about it, but that kid was bullying him.”

Montes said her son had worked at the school and tutored the boy last year, sometimes walking with him between classes because he felt sorry for him.

“All I ever heard about him was good things from my son,” Montes said. “He wasn’t Mr. Popularity, but he was a smart kid. It’s a shame. My kid said he was like a genius. It’s a shame because he could have made something of himself.”

The wounded student was flown to a hospital in Bakersfield and was listed in stable but critical condition Thursday evening. 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 when she fell over a table.

Officials said there’s usually an armed officer on campus, but the person wasn’t there because he was snowed in. Taft police officers arrived within 60 seconds of first reports.

Bakersfield television station KERO reported receiving phone calls from people inside the school who hid in closets. About 900 students are enrolled at the high school, which includes ninth through 12th grades.

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.

“I was afraid I was going to get hurt,” Alexis said. “I just wanted my mom to get here so I could go home.”

Taft is a community of fewer than 10,000 people amid oil and natural gas production fields about 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

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.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement that her father had attended Taft Union and she has visited the school over the years.

“At this moment my thoughts and prayers are with the victims, and I wish them a speedy recovery,” Feinstein said. “But how many more shootings must there be in America before we come to the realization that guns and grievances do not belong together?”

————

By Tracie Cone. Associated Press writers Robert Jablon and John Antczak in Los Angeles, and Juliet Williams in Sacramento contributed to this report.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Psychedelic rock posters recall 1960s concerts

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
UCD study: Crickets not enough to feed the world just yet

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1

It’ll be a perfect day for a picnic — and lots more

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Turning a mess into olive oil success

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UCD expands emergency notification service

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A2

 
California vaccine bill stalls; will come back next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Cities: California water reduction order unrealistic, unfair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Chasing criminals and water-wasters

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Enjoy a chemistry bang on Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Start your Picnic Day with pancakes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Local students to perform at fundraising concert

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
CA House hosts crepe breakfast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Doxie Derby crowns the winning wiener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Fundraiser benefits Ugandan women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

See pups at Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Davis poet will read his work at library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

 
Rotary Club hosts whisky tasting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Ribs and Rotary benefits local charities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Dodd plans fundraising barbecue in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Soroptimists set date for golf tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Socks collected for homeless veterans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Council will present environmental awards Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Invention and upcycling to be honored at Square Tomatoes Fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Take a peek at Putah Creek on daylong tour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Pence Gallery Garden Tour tickets on sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
UC Davis Circle K Club wins awards at district convention

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis authors featured at writing conference in Stockton

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Sign up soon for Davis history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Campus firearms bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Emerson featured at photography program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Portuguese influence in Yolo County detailed

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Concert and dance party celebrate KDRT’s 10 years on the air

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Survival skills to be taught at preserve

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The new one puts her foot down

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

It’s time to fight for California’s jobs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Future leaders give back

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Know where your gift is going

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Pipeline veto a good move

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Artists offer heartfelt thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Sports

DHS boys drop another Delta League match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie women ready to host (win?) Big West golf tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

New strength coach hopes to stem UCD football injury tide

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Herd has too much for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Les, AD Gould talk about the Aggie coach’s future

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Quintet of Aggie gymnasts honored for academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
River Cats fall to Las Vegas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

 
Diamondbacks defeat Giants in 12 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

DSF kicks off 10th anniversary celebration at the carousel

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
Many summer enrichment opportunities available for students

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

.

Arts

‘True Story:’ In their dreams

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
‘Once’ an unforgetable celebration of music, relationships

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Honda shows off new Civic at New York show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Obituaries

Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 17, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B10