Taft High School Shooter Was Bullied, Classmates Say

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TAFT, Calif. (KTLA) — A suspected gunman is behind bars and a student is in critical condition after a shooting at a high school in Taft, Calif., near Bakersfield.

Authorities said a 16-year-old boy armed with a 12-gauge shotgun walked into a science class at Taft Union High School around 9 a.m. Thursday.

“He then interrupted the class half-way through it armed with a shotgun. He fired the first round, striking another student,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.

The wounded student, also 16 years old, was airlifted to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield. The student remains in critical but stable condition.

Police said the suspect then fired at another boy in the science class, but missed.

A teacher, identified as Ryan Heber, was able to talk with the student long enough to get him to set down the shotgun and move most of his students to safety.

Youngblood said that, at one point, the shooter told the teacher, “I don’t want to shoot you.”

Officers arrived and took the teen into custody by 9:20 a.m. A shotgun was recovered at the scene, sheriff’s officials said.

Law enforcement would not confirm reports that, last year, the suspect had a “hit list” of students he wanted to shoot. But one student told KTLA the whole school knew about it.

“I guess he said that everybody bullied him,” senior Trevor White said. “I didn’t even know the kid until we got called into the office for it.”

“He went in the office, and then after that they sent him home, and he came back the next day,” White recalled.

Officials said there’s usually an armed officer on campus, but the person wasn’t there because he was snowed in.

Police arrived within 60 seconds of the first reports. Authorities said witnesses saw a suspect walking onto campus with a shotgun and called 911.

School officials said that there would be no classes on Friday, but counselors will be available for students and staff. School will resume on Monday.

Thursday’s shooting comes less than a month after a gunman massacred 20 children and six women at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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    • KamilPerevin

      I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do, Rich45.ℂOM

  • Matt

    The 20 something are the first generation we are seeing the results of riddlen – porzac and a dozen other drugs handed out to kids like candy. Toss in a 12 pack of monster and 48 hours of first shooter games. Look at what er get. Think about.

  • sutter

    How did the student get access to a shotgun? Bought on the street? Taken from his home because it wasn't locked up? NRA calls for armed guards for all schools. One armed guard on campus would have prevented this? Or will all teachers, in each classroom, will be required to carry automatic weapons (and take shooting classes)? A teacher would ahve shot the student? What if a substitute is called in for a day? Do they just get a crash course in shooting? What is someone shoots too quickly? Or shoots the wrong person? Would the school district (i.e., taxpayers) be financially liable?

    • Kev

      We know what all of the questions are….how about trying to provide an answer! I can answer most of your questions.. The shotgun was probably bought at Big 5 by his father….9 out of 10 homes in Kern County probably have shotguns. Good quail hunting weapon. Lots of quail in the San Joaquin Valley. Perhaps an armed guard (and metal detectors) could have prevented this. We will never know. Automatic weapons are outlawed, so teachers will not be carrying them to class. I think whatever teacher would like to learn how to use a handgun, and pass an extensive background and psychological testing should be allowed to. Hopefully a well trained English teacher would have dumped the kid before he had a chance to do any damage. Substitutes could carry as well if they were trained and licensed. If someone shoots too quickly or shoots the wrong person then, like a police officer, they would be held personally responsible to face civil liability. If a cop shoots the wrong person…guess what…he gets sued!….bottom line is something needs to be done to make the schools safer…I like the ideas of metal detectors and private armed security companies.

      • Sam

        I'm a relatively sane, past middle-aged, housewife who would have no problem qualifying for a gun. I've been a substitute teacher, I've had classes that I might have mowed down by the end of the day if I had a weapon. The answer to the gun problem is NOT more guns.

    • bugman

      One armed security person most likely could of resolved the problem, with out an automatic gun. You just do not like gun owners.

        • Kev

          VT does have a campus police force you are right, but so does USC in the middle of South Central and that is one of the safest campuses in America. Nobody is claiming that armed guards will prevent all shootings, but it will make schools safer. It is impossible to prevent a lunatic from committing his/her crime if he has enough will to plan it and follow through. However, most people, even crazy ones, will tend to shy away from areas where someone else besides them is armed.

          • Sam

            and, what about the NJ Police station that was shot up? I agree, in a free and open society, we are going to have people smart enough and crazy enough to pull of these kinds of atrocities, but why saturate the country with guns?

          • Kev

            Your statements contradict themselves…"in a free and open society, we are going to have people smart enough and crazy enought to pull of these kinds of atrocities, but why saturate the country with guns?" Because we have people smart and crazy enough to do these kind of atrocities is exactly why we need to have guns to defend ourselves. I own several guns and am training my children on how to use them safely to defend themselves against intruders into our home. I would suggest you do the same. I am for stricter gun laws. The type of laws that put felons away who are caught with guns or if a gun is used in a commission of a crime. Those are the strict gun laws we need as a country.

      • publicnme

        Yea but their SPECIAL,….. .Only special people deserve to be able to protect themselves with armed security or bodyguards.The rest of us get harassed by bans and hundreds of misdirected gun laws.


    There is absolutely nothing wrong with honest, decent, hardworking, sane people owning weapons. These are not the people who are walking into schools, offices, etc., and shooting. Let's keep the weapons from criminals and the mentally ill. When are people in charge going to do more to protect school children? It is time for visible armed security and metal detectors in all schools.

    • Sam

      Who gets to decide what "sane" is? What happens when that "sane" person snaps or forgets to lock up his gun cabinet? Why should our children have to go to school in armed prisons just because people worship at the altar of the NRA? Let's dig up one of the Founding Fathers and ask if what we have today is what they imagined when writing the second amendment.

  • Rick Drake

    The Founding Fathers regulated firearms even in early America. "States kept track of who had guns, had the right to inspect them in private homes and could fine citizens for failing to report to a muster,

  • PublicNME

    People in nature,… YOU are Ultimately responsible for your own welfare (Survival of the fittest) no more gun bans , whining , blaming others expecting Police to protect you .You got to do whatever you got to do to keep your family safe.And Government need to get the H.E.L.L out of the way of Law abiding American citizens and stop trying to disarm us and secure our borders before the foreign Terrorists join the party and they will if they don't stop the wave ,….. It's just a matter of time before they start setting off car bombs on our streets and were going to need those guns .The country is in a tail spin , Wake up.

  • MomofTafthighstudent

    Being a mother of a student who was in the building at the time of shooting, but not in that room, and my child has grown up with the vicitum! I dont blame guns, i blame those who ignored the signs. This was not the 1st time this child was mention with issues of having a hit list. But also keep in mind, he felt bullied. If this issue was taken serious the 1st time this probably would not have happened. Counseling needs to be done with all involved. I am very blessed to have my child home tonight. This was truely a nightmare. Prayers for all involved.