Reporting Pete Demetriou
TAFT (CBSLA.com) — A student who witnessed Thursday’s shooting at Taft Union High School in Kern County said her classmates were “really rude” to the alleged 16-year-old gunman.
Morgan Alldredge, 16, told KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou that people misunderstood the teen.
“Maybe the way he looked, the things he read, music he listened to. They only needed to get to know him, he’s a nice guy,” Alldredge said.
The witness reportedly saw the unidentified suspect, who was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun, open fire around 8:45 a.m. in her class on the second floor of the school’s science building.
“He just walked in, lifted the gun up and shot. No warning,” Alldredge said.
She continued, “(The victim) just got shot and he kinda – we all thought it was fake ‘cause he’s like, he just made a joke out of it. He said, ‘Dude, I got shot.’”
Alldredge said the teen then fired a second time, but missed and hit the back wall.
“He (then) indicated that he wanted a certain student,” she said.
The witness said that particular student ran to the back of the room and pleaded with the shooter.
“He said he was sorry, and so I guess the shooter kind of was okay, kind of calmed down a little bit, put the gun down a little,” she said.
Alldredge told Demetriou that the teacher tried to talk to the assailant in order to distract him.
“The teacher pulled out his phone and set it on the ground. He called some number and pressed the call and said, ‘Don’t shoot.’ I guess that alarmed whomever he was calling,” she said.
Alldredge said a security guard outside the classroom helped talk the gunman down before he was taken into custody.
“He said, ‘Put the gun down. You don’t need to do this, put the gun down.’ He put the gun down by the trash can and stepped away,” she said.
It took five minutes for students to be evacuated from the classroom, according to Alldredge.
“The kid kinda had the gun pointed towards the back door, so no one could leave (before that),” she said.
Officials said the victim was airlifted to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield for treatment. He is listed in critical, but stable condition.
The teacher suffered minor injuries and refused treatment on the scene.
Last year, the suspect was suspended for having a “hit list,” which targeted certain students, according to KCAL9′s Randy Paige.