It was a long day for the students and people of the Santa Clarita community when on November 14, 2019.
Just shortly when school started, there was a lockdown in one of the Southern California high schools, the Saugus High School.
The suspect was also a student who pulled out his weapon from his backpack at around 7:30 in the morning, local time and started to shoot inside the school. The school enrolls grades 9-12 and has a population of 2,500 students. With his 45 caliber semi-automatic handgun, he was able to shoot 5 students and with the last bullet, shot himself on the head.
As soon as the law enforcers were able to get in during the lockdown, parents, and families reunited with their students. There were a lot of tears and tight hugs.
The suspect was an Asian student who celebrated his birthday on Thursday. When described how he was in school, they described him as a nice young boy but changed when his father passed away two years ago from a heart attack. His father owned guns, but the family didn’t think that his views about it were negative. The suspect was an average student who ran cross country and was also serving as a Boy scout. A neighbor mentioned that he was sad sometimes, but he didn’t look depressed at all. As to how he got the weapon, the police didn’t know yet. Selling firearms to minors is illegal.
Victims of the shootings were all students. A 16-year-old and 14-year-old died at the hospital, and there were 3 injured victims, two girls aged 14 and 15, and a 14-year-old boy. For their security, names were not publicized.
What were the safety measures of the school?
The Saugus High School has dozens of security cameras. They have fencing, and some supervisors monitor the people going in and out of the school. No metal detectors inside the campus. “The gates to the campuses are locked during instructional time and typically only unlocked when students are leaving campus for lunch or leaving school at the end of the day. Visitors are directed to the office to check-in”.
Detectives searched the home of the suspects.
They found some guns at the teen’s home, and the police swarmed their house shortly after. In 2016, the suspect’s father was detained for involuntary hold for a mental evaluation, thus resulting in the seizure of several firearms from their house. The county had already destroyed them. The authorities are still working out on the pistol that was used by the suspect.
On Thursday night, there was a mass for the Santa Clarita community. The parents and students who were reunited attended. Students tied white and blue balloons above the candles in remembrance of the fatalities. Students from other schools gathered with them too to show their support for their friends at Sagus. There are people gathered at St. Stephen Episcopal Church. “It’s a time to look to each other for comfort, for support, for understanding.”