14-year-old charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting fellow student
(PALMDALE, Calif.) — A teenager who’s accused of shooting a fellow student at a high school in Palmdale, California, is in custody, after law enforcement authorities acting on reports of an active shooter swarmed the campus, which is about 60 miles north of Los Angeles, authorities said.
The initial report of a gunman at Highland High School came in at 7:05 a.m. local time, and was followed by a report about a half hour later of shots fired near an elementary school in the area, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.
The 911 calls included reports that hostages were being held in the school library, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a press conference Friday afternoon. The campus was then placed on lockdown and students were told to shelter in place, McDonnell said.
The suspect in custody is 14 years old, as is the victim, according to law enforcement officials. The victim was shot in the arm and was transported by a nearby civilian to the hospital, where he is in stable condition, McDonnell said.
The rifle apparently used in the attack was recovered in an open field west of the school, McDonnell said.
The off-duty LAPD officer who apprehended the suspect at the Vons supermarket said he had received a call from his mother, who stated that he ran away from the home that morning after they “were having trouble with him, McDonnell said. The arresting officer is a family friend, McDonnell said.
The suspect told his father that he shot his gun through the air, McDonnell said. He is a former student who recently transferred to another school, the sheriff added.
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Office deputies were searching the grounds of Highland High School in Palmdale, Officer Nicole Nishida, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC News.
The high school was being searched by dogs trained to detect explosives, law enforcement sources told ABC News, as sheriff’s deputies worked to calm worried parents who had come to the school after social media reports of a shooting.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were also on scene at Manzanita Elementary School in Palmdale, which is now all clear.
Deputies reported to the elementary school but found no victims and no sign of a shooter, Nishida said.
McDonnell credited the tight-knit community for enabling them to resolve the incident in an expedited fashion. Students on the campus remained calm and texted their classmates, telling them to stay away from the area, and faculty members directed deputies throughout the campus, allowing them to clear the building faster, McDonnell said.
Faculty also provided surveillance video of the suspect arriving and leaving the school, which “assisted in the quick apprehension” of the suspect, McDonnell said.
McDonnell said it is unclear whom the suspect was aiming at, stating that he “fired the rounds and deliberately left the campus.”
The suspect has been charged with one count of attempted murder, McDonnell said.
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