Sheriff Donny Youngblood, says the shooter is 16-years-old. Youngblood says he believes the shooter and the intended victims did not get along and had run-ins before Thursday morning. And after school began, is when the gunman returned with a shotgun.
Before 9:00, a 16-year-old Taft Union High School student walked into the science building with a 12-gauge shotgun. "There was an active shooter that didn't show up for school this(Thursday) morning for the first period. He then interrupted the class. Halfway through it," adds Youngblood.
Youngblood says the shooter entered the class of 28 students, and shot a 16-year-old first, then took aim at another student, both believed to be the intended targets. "He then tried to shoot a second student that he named and tried to shoot him and he missed."
Reports of shots fired inside the school came in around 9:00. Sheriff Youngblood says a minute later, 2 Taft Police units were on scene. Inside they found the teacher, Ryan Herber, and a campus supervisor had talked the suspect into dropping the weapon, and the 16-year old surrendered.
Many parents told 17 News the suspect was discovered with a hit list last year and was reportedly bullied.
Investigators could not confirm either.
"We will get to be able to answer those questions at a later time right not we can't answer them," says Taft Police Chief Ed Whiting.
Investigators say the suspect lives close to the school. And they are looking to see where he got the gun.
as for the victims, the student shot suffered critical injuries.
A female student was treated for hearing loss due to the gun blast, another girl was hurt tripping over desks in the commotion, and the teacher was grazed on the head, by a shotgun pellet. Youngblood did not know if it was a bird or buck shot. "He had several maybe as many as 20 rounds of shotgun in his pocket, shotgun rounds and so we don't know what might have happened and this is a tragedy but not as bad as we think it might have been."
Police say teachers and staff had just training before the school day on what to do in a lockdown situation. And school officials say they normally have an armed Taft officer on duty, daily, but that officer was snowed in.