SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KTLA/AP) — A student gunman opened fire Thursday at a Southern California high school, killing two students and wounding three others before he was captured in grave condition after shooting himself in the head, authorities said.
Around 7:30 a.m., deputies responded to a report of shots fired on the campus, located at 21900 Centurion Way, the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station said in a series of tweets.
Several students were injured and transported to local hospitals, where two victims — a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy — later died, according to officials. Neither has been identified.
One male student remains in critical condition at Henry Mayo Hospital, while a fourth patient was hospitalized in good condition.
Two female gunshot victims were transported to Holy Cross Providence Hospital and are in good to fair condition, said hospital spokeswoman Patricia Aidem.
Early reports of the number of victims from the shooting ranged from four to as many as seven. The Los Angeles County Fire Department later confirmed six patients total were transported to local hospitals.
At least three were treated on the campus, Sky5 video showed. Paramedics could be seen performing CPR on one injured person.
Saugus High is in a suburban area about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Suspect in custody after intense search
The shooting triggered a massive response from deputies and a shelter-in-place order as law enforcement combed the area for the gunman.
By 9:40 a.m., the male suspect was in custody and transported to a local hospital for treatment, Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed.
The suspect is a 15-year-old boy, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Earlier, the sheriff told KTLA that the department had identified the suspect, saying he appeared to be a student. Villanueva did not release his name.
A SWAT team unit and several other vehicles could be seen parked outside a home in a nearby residential neighborhood shortly after 9 a.m., Sky5 video over the scene showed. It was unclear if that was where law enforcement found the suspect.
Undersheriff Tim Murakami said investigators are looking into rumors the alleged gunman possibly posted threats to social media prior to the shooting.
“If you ever learn of posted threats please notify us ASAP,” he tweeted. “It will result in an immediate investigation. We have successfully prevented possible acts of violence as a result of such reports.”
‘We ran as fast as we could’
Students described a chaotic scene when gunfire erupted on campus before the start of classes. An 11th grader told KTLA she was outside of the library with friends when they heard five or six gunshots ring out.
“I heard a bullet hit the wall right next to where we were standing. … We ran as fast as we could,” said the student, who identified herself as Riley. “There were hundreds of us just running as far away as possible.”
Braden, a 10th grader, told KTLA the situation unfolded right after his mother dropped him off at school.
“As soon as I found out, I saw the kids running,” he said. “I knew it was serious, so I just ran back to my mom’s car.”
Some students hid in their classrooms while their frightened parents frantically rushed to campus.
“They’re texting us that they’re hiding in closets, they’re scared to die,” one mother said as she held her daughter, who was among the first wave of students to get off the campus.
Another parent told KTLA she received a text message from her daughter as she was preparing to head out to work.
“She told me, ‘Mom, I’m so scared. I love you guys so much. Please come, please come,’” the woman told KTLA. “That just killed me.”
Schools placed on lockdown
All campuses in the William S. Hart Union High School District were placed on lockdown amid the search for the gunman. The lockdown has since been lifted for all schools.
The Castaic Union School District also temporarily placed all of its campuses on lockdown as a precautionary measure.
Students will be interviewed by investigators before being released to their parents, Murakami tweeted.
Parents are being told to pick up their students at Central Park at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road.
KTLA’s Nidia Becerra, Anthony Kurzweil and Kristina Bravo contributed to this story.
Check back for updates on this developing story.