On November 14, California was shaken up for the second time in two weeks due to another school shooting. The attacker opened fire in the quad area of Saugus Highschool, killing two students and injuring three more before shooting himself in the head. The shooting took place in only 16 seconds according to security footage.
The attack was seemingly unmotivated. Witnesses at the school say that the shooter walked to the middle of a large student area, withdrew the weapon from his bag and opened fire without previously drawing attention to himself. He appears to have selected his victims at random despite the reality that this was a premeditated act.
Three off-duty Santa Clarita police officers were the first to respond to the scene because they were dropping students off at the school. One of those officers was detective Daniel Finn who delivered a statement at a news conference on Friday. Finn said he “saw several hundred students running off campus” as he neared the school that morning. Upon entering the school, Finn and two other officers found students lying on the ground with a .45 cal pistol lying nearby. They began administering medical aid while waiting for ambulances.
One student survivor later said to reporters “As I’m turning the corner [running], I can see and hear ‘whewp’ go past my head and hit somebody in the shoulder.” She says that the memories of those horrifying moments have been keeping her up at night since the attack.
The shooter’s suicide attempt after the attack threw off first responders as they initially thought the shooter was one of the victims. The Sheriff’s department put out an APB for the shooter but later withdrew it after identifying the attacker.
The shooter died in the hospital later as a result of his head injury, much to the disappointment of law enforcement, who were still on the hunt for a motive. After receiving a warrant, officers searched the boy’s home and found six other weapons, some of which were unregistered. They found no diaries, manifestos or suicide notes to provide insight into the situation. It is still unclear why the attack happened, but investigators hope to learn more as they interview more students.
Saugus Highschool will remain closed until December 2nd. In the meantime, the school will provide psychological support services to students and families in need.
This attack is only the latest on a long list of school shootings that have been happening in the US. By the time you are reading this article, another school shooting has already taken place in Pleasantville NJ and a mass shooting in Fresno, CA. It is clear that this violent endemic needs to be stopped, but people can’t seem to agree on how to stop it. People from opposite sides of the aisle are quick to vilify the other side, and this stalemate only delays advancement toward a practical solution. Families of the victims have told the media that they hope this pattern of violence ends soon.