ChiccoDodiFC/iStock(LOS ANGELES) — One person has died following a shooting at a high school in Southern California Thursday morning, according to a local hospital.
Meanwhile, the sole suspect has been taken into custody as students evacuate the campus and reunite with their parents.
The number of injuries was not immediately clear amid the chaos at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
While fire officials reported six people hospitalized, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at least three people, all students, were hurt, including at least one gunshot victim.
Henry Mayo Hospital said one female patient died and two male patients were in critical condition.
Villanueva said the suspect is in custody and being treated at a local hospital. The sheriff told ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV earlier that the suspect was believed to be part of the student body.
The shooting began at 7:05 a.m. local time, during what’s called “Zero Period,” roughly an hour before the school day officially begins at 8 a.m. and is often used for extracurricular classes and was before the bulk of the students were there for the start of the school day, police told ABC News.
Sophomore Brooklyn Moreno said she was in the quad when she heard what she thought was a balloon popping.
“I just started running,” she told KABC. “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.”
“I never thought this would happen at my school,” Moreno said. “I’m still kinda in shock right now. I’ve been shaking and crying a lot — I’m an emotional wreck.”
One student told KABC he was headed to school when a few friends texted him to not go because they heard shots.
“At first I didn’t believe it,” said the sophomore. “You would never think this would happen… I saw cops and I stopped and I called my mom and she told me to come straight home.”
Students were led single file through the campus by armed officers. Multiple ambulances were spotted at the scene as worried parents jammed the streets.
As the search for the suspect was unfolding, officials urged those who live in the area to lock their doors and other schools were placed on lockdown.
Misty Wolf, a Saugus High School graduate whose 16-year-old daughter goes to a nearby school, said they were just arriving when her daughter’s school was placed on lockdown.
“We were all getting there and parents heard shots — or what we thought were shots,” Wolf told ABC News. “The nice guy who waves us in the lot every morning started shouting at the kids walking to get out of the way get up the hill. …We were all trying to get out. People were confused.”
“Having my kid, who is already dealing with things in life, being scared because I told her to duck down because they don’t know where the shooter is — is hard,” Wolf said. “There was another [school lockdown] a few years ago and she never wanted to leave her classroom after it. I’m worried that this will make her not want to be at school because she doesn’t feel safe.”
Moments before news of the shooting broke, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was on the Senate floor calling on his colleagues to bring up a universal background checks bill that was passed by the House earlier this year.
He asked for unanimous consent to pass the legislation dubbed the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019” that would establish new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties. The House approved of the measure in February in a 240-90 vote.
His fellow Democratic Connecticut senator, Richard Blumenthal, was in the middle of his remarks on gun violence when he was handed a note informing him of the reported shooting.
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