A teenage gunman is in custody after allegedly shooting and critically injuring a classmate in Kern County Thursday morning.
The shooting happened around 9:00 a.m. at Taft Union High School, located southwest of Bakersfield in Kern County.
The victim is a 16-year-old boy. He was airlifted to the hospital and is expected to survive. A teacher was hit with a single pellet from the shotgun shell, but refused medical attention. The suspect is a 16-year-old boy.
Investigators say the suspect came to the Life Science building in the middle of first period, armed with a shotgun. He walked into his classroom and fired between two and five rounds. The victim was shot in the chest.
"My friend said she heard him screaming in the hallway that he got shot and stuff and two other kids were holding his wound," said Arizona Pilgrim, a 15-year-old student.
The teacher talked the suspect into stopping the attack. It was likely a life-saving move.
"He, in fact, told the teacher, I don't want to shoot you, and named the other person he wanted to shoot. So, he had intended targets," said Sheriff Donny Youngblood of the Kern County Sheriff's Department.
900 frightened high school students were locked down in their classrooms. One student says she heard screaming, but not the gun fire.
"I was hoping he doesn't come in here," said Paola Huerta, an 18-year-old student.
By chance, the shooting happened minutes after an emergency practice drill. While lying on the ground, students were able to text messages out.
"I started texting her and then asked her if she was okay. She said yeah. She said, 'Is this for real?' And I said, 'Yeah it's for real,'" said Tessa Pilgrim, a mother.
Hours after the shooting, many students were still gathered in the auditorium, as parents waited in line to pick them up. School is cancelled Friday but will be back open on Monday. Counselors will be available on campus.