Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bullying Claims Made in California School Shooting; Police Say 16- Year-Old Shooter Targeted Two Students, Injuring One of Them

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bullying Claims Made in California School Shooting; Police Say 16- Year-Old Shooter Targeted Two Students, Injuring One of Them

Article excerpt

TAFT, CALIF. Morgan Alldredge had just finished her oceanography test when a classmate she knows well suddenly walked in the open door to her science class with a shotgun.

He didnt say anything. He just shot right away, said Alldredge, 16, a junior, who was sitting by the doorway as the terrifying events unfolded Thursday morning at Taft Union High School, about 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The round struck a boy in the chest and shoulder. The shooter then quickly pumped the gun Alldredge identified as a Winchester 12- gauge and immediately fired another round at students trying to flee out a back door.

He had a kind of disturbing smile on his face. Kind of a smirk, said Alldredge, who estimated she was about 5 feet from the gunman. He then looked at her and mouthed the words not you as she sat frozen at her desk, Alldredge said. She said that he had said, All I want is Jacob.

That boy, Alldredges former boyfriend, was hiding behind a desk in the classroom.

He popped his head up and apologized for bullying him, she said. He kept saying, Im sorry, Im sorry. He was crying.

Seeing the boys emotion seemed to change everything for the gunman, Alldredge said. His shoulders sort of slumped and he began listening to the teacher, Ryan Heber, who was telling him to put down the gun, she said. When he did, Kim Fields, a school official who hurried to the scene when gunshots were reported, grabbed the teen in a bear hug and sat him on the ground, Alldredge said.

On Friday, Kern County sheriffs deputies booked the suspect, 16, into Juvenile Hall on two counts of attempted murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. Meanwhile, the boy shot in the chest remained hospitalized in critical condition but is expected to survive. Neither boys name was released.

HIT LIST

Police are trying to piece together what led to the violence in the rural San Joaquin Valley community surrounded by farmland and oil wells. Many students described the boy as a loner who was called names. …

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