TAFT (CBSLA.com) — Two people were wounded Thursday in a school shooting in the city of Taft, according to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
The shooting happened at Taft Union High School on the second floor of the school’s science building around 9 a.m. in Bakersfield.
Taft police officers were first on the scene within a minute of the 911 call.
According to Taft police, the 16-year-old shooter, who is a student at the high school, entered the campus with a 12-gauge shot gun and went to his first period science class.
The suspect shot a male classmate, Bowe Cleveland, who officials believe was the intended target.
The suspect then called out another student’s name and attempted to fire, but failed to hit the intended victim.
Teacher Ryan Heber spoke to CBS2/KCAL9’s Suraya Fadel about the shooting and how he evacuated students out of a rear classroom door. He engaged the suspect with the help of a campus aid. The suspect reportedly laid down his weapon and was taken into custody by authorities. He was carrying dozens of rounds of ammunition.
Police say Heber’s actions saved lives.
“We commend the teacher and the campus supervisor that brought this to a quick end,” Taft Police Chief Edward Whiting said.
The identity of the suspect was not released and authorities are trying to determine a motive in the attack.
Students say the suspect was an outcast and often bullied. They said Cleveland, a popular 11th grader and athlete, took part in the bullying.
Cleveland was airlifted with a gunshot wound to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield for treatment. He is listed in critical, but stable condition, officials said.
“I think he is going to make it, but he has more operations to undergo, but he is responding to our resuscitative efforts and I think we’re going to be able to pull him through this,” Dr. Ruby Skinner at Kern Medical Center said. “A very chilling situation. There’s flashbacks to Connecticut and all of the other tragedies that have occurred over the last year or so.”
Heber suffered minor injuries and refused treatment on the scene.
The teacher texted his parents to let them know he was all right and said, “a student came into my classroom and shot another student.”
“He actually was the student body president when he was at Taft High School and he was the sender on the football team, just totally involved in everything at school, and goes to church every Sunday. He’s just a good young man, never been in any trouble,” said the teacher’s father, David Heber.
* William Howard Taft High School in Woodland Hills is safe and is in no way connected to the incident in Kern County.