At least two students are dead and three others students injured after a classmate opened fire at a high school in Southern California Thursday morning, sheriff’s officials said.
The 16-year-old male suspect was taken into custody and is in the hospital in “grave condition” from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
Detectives reviewed video from the scene which showed the gunman in the quad of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita when he took a gun from his backpack, shot five people and then shot himself in the head, authorities said. The early morning school shooting was on the suspect’s birthday, authorities said.
The surviving victims are a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl, officials said.
Terrified students barricaded in classrooms before they fled the campus to search for their concerned parents, who had gathered in the streets.
“I just started running,” sophomore Brooklyn Moreno said. “There was girls falling in front of me and I tried to help them up, then just kept running ’cause I didn’t want to get hurt, either.”
The weapon, a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol, was recovered with no more bullets left, authorities said.
The suspect’s girlfriend and his mother are speaking with detectives, authorities said.
The shooting was reported at 7:38 a.m. local time during what’s called “Zero Period,” which is before the school day officially begins at 8 a.m. and is often used for extracurricular classes, police said.
When 17-year-old Hayden Trowbridge heard the gunshots, his classmates pushed their desks to the door as a barricade, he told ABC News.
The teen said he grabbed his metal water bottle to use as a weapon as they all hid under their desks, crying and holding each other.
Trowbridge said during shooting drills he had practiced putting a book in front of his chest to protect against a fatal shot, but he didn’t have anything big enough nearby.
Choir teacher Kaitlin Holt said one girl, shot in the hip and shoulder, was rushed into her classroom by other students. Holt told ABC News she gave the girl first aid and called 911.
Moreno said she was in the school’s quad when she heard what she thought was a balloon popping. She took off running.
“I never thought this would happen at my school,” Moreno told ABC Los Angeles station KABC. “I’m still kinda in shock right now. I’ve been shaking and crying a lot — I’m an emotional wreck.”
Jeff Turner, a father of three Saugus High School students, said his daughter “was beside herself, hysterical.”
She “thought she should have stayed and helped the kids she saw shot, feeling terrified and guilty all at once,” Turner told ABC News. “I broke down in tears. Had to pull myself out of it to help her.”