3 Dead, Multiple Injured in Saugus School Shooting

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3 Dead, Multiple Injured in Saugus School Shooting

Shirley Huang, Staff Writer

A 16-year-old gunman shot 6 classmates in a crowded quad in less than 17 seconds before turning the gun on himself the morning of Nov. 14 before first period classes at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA. 

Law enforcement spread out to nearby neighborhoods in search of the suspect, believing he had fled the scene. A video was later obtained, showing the suspect, Nathaniel Berhow, pull a  .45-caliber pistol out of his backpack and open fire. He shot himself last. It was his 16th birthday, Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told reporters. 

Paramedics rushed onto campus, treating the wounded in the grassy areas on campus. Two students, a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, died shortly after being taken to a hospital. Meanwhile, the suspect was found in critical condition due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He died the next day. The last of the students hospitalized have returned home to complete their recovery. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, Saugus High School students returned to campus to retrieve their belongings. The school plans to remain closed until Monday, Dec. 2., after Thanksgiving break. Until then, the district will be providing counseling and emotional support at the school.

Moreover, students have shared how they recall Nov. 14, the day of the incident. 

Upon hearing the first gunshot, some students immediately fled from school grounds. During drills, they were trained to take cover in classrooms, though, they were fearful that the shooter was near where they would have hid. 

Brooklyn Moreno, who was on school grounds during the attack, said she was about to enter her first class when she heard the sound of gunshots. 

“Everyone thought it was a balloon, and it got really quiet. And then two more shots, and then everyone just ran out of the school,” said Brooklyn, who added that she and many others took refuge in nearby homes.

Larry Everhart, the grandfather of a Saugus High student, recalls his alarm when a group of screaming students were running down his street. 

“They were saying, ‘Can I come in your house?’ It was about 20 of them. I wanted to make sure they were safe, so I got them in there,” he said.

Meanwhile, other students remained in locked classrooms for over an hour as police tried to locate the suspect. 

Andrei Mojica had been seated in his government class when he saw people running. Someone opened the door, exclaiming that there was a shooter on campus. 

Suddenly, all the students were up pushing desks and tables against the doors, something they had practiced before, but “there was just something different about it from a simple drill to real life,” Mojica said.

The students sat in silence, gripping onto a fire extinguisher to use as a weapon in case the shooter came in. They never heard a single gunshot. 

“We had no clue whether the shooter was on the opposite side of campus or right outside our door,” Mojica said. “That fear made it feel like we were waiting in silence forever.”

Eventually, police knocked on their door to inform them that it was safe to come out. In tears, the students evacuated, walking in lines behind armed law enforcement officers who had their arms raised in the air. They boarded buses to Central Park and were reunited with friends and family. On Sunday, Nov. 17, members of the community gathered together at the park to grieve for the victims.

Photo courtesy of NEWSWEEK.COM