Monday, June 25, 2018

Police investigate bullying in California school shooting

TAFT, Calif. — Authorities are investigating reports that the teen who allegedly opened fire at Taft Union High School on Thursday had complained about being bullied.

A student who was shot was on life support and in intensive care on Friday but is expected to recover, hospital officials said.

The 16-year-old male victim, who authorities have not identified, suffered internal injuries to the lungs and liver, officials at Kern County Medical Center said.

"He's in an induced coma to protect him," said Paul Hensler, chief executive officer of the facility, which is a trauma center.

Law enforcement officials said the suspect, also age 16, would be charged with attempted murder. They did not give his name because he is a minor.

They said they were investigating what role bullying may have had in motivating him to fire a 12-gauge shotgun at students in his science class. In addition to the hospitalized victim, the suspect tried to shoot a second student and missed before the science teacher was able to talk him down, authorities said.

"He certainly believed the two he targeted had bullied him," Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told reporters at a news briefing. "Whether or not that occurred, we don't know that."

Classes were canceled at Taft High School on Friday but the school remained opened for a few hours so staff and students could collect belongings left behind during the mayhem. Grief counselors were available on campus "to talk to people," said Ray Pruitt, public information officer for the Kern County Sheriff's Department.

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