Santa Clarita High School shooting: Students describe horror as hundreds of them 'just ran as far away as possible'
When the gunman opened fire at his high school in Santa Clarita, an 11th grader remembered running as fast as she could, as a bullet hit the wall next to the building where she and her friends stood. The student, who identified herself as Riley, told KTLA that she was with her friends outside the library when shots rang out. It took them a while to understand the horror that was unfolding. "We heard one, two gunshots. We looked at each other, it took so long for us to process. Then we heard three or four more gunshots," she said.
“I heard a bullet hit the wall right next to where we were standing. … We ran as fast as we could. There were hundreds of us just running as far away as possible”, she said. On Thursday, a student of the Saugus high school in Santa Clarita, identified as Nathaniel Berhow, fired his .45 caliber gun just before classes started and ended up killing two teens and injuring three, before shooting himself in the head.
The three students are stable but the shooter's condition is said to be grave. It all went down in a matter of 16 seconds, the police say. No motive has been ascertained yet.
When the shooting started, the students were arriving on the campus. The student said that they knew what to do in an active shooter situation. "Everyone, despite this horrible situation, it seemed as if everyone knew exactly what they needed to be doing to keep themselves safe”, she said.
According to ABC News, students also hid under desks as soon as gunshots were heard. 17-year-old Hayden Trowbridge told ABC News that he and his classmates pushed the desk to the door to prevent it from opening and then hid under their desks, crying and holding onto each other.
A teacher also recalled jumping into action as a student got shot near her. It had sounded like a balloon bursting, she told KABC. "I never thought this would happen at my school. I'm still kinda in shock right now. I’ve been shaking and crying a lot - I’m an emotional wreck", she said. She gave the student first aid then called 911. A father of three high school students at Saugus said that his daughter felt guilty and scared and "was beside herself, hysterical.” Jeff Turner told ABC, that she "thought she should have stayed and helped the kids she saw shot, feeling terrified and guilty all at once. I broke down in tears. Had to pull myself out of it to help her."
Just minutes before the shooting unfolded, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal were at the floor calling on universal background checks for gun sales. "As I speak on the floor right now, there is a school shooting in Santa Clara, California", Blumenthal said, misstating the location, which was Santa Clarita, the news outlet reported.
"How can we turn the other way, how can we refuse to see that shooting in real-time, demanding our attention, requiring our action? We are complicit if we fail to act. It is not just a political responsibility, it is a moral imperative", he said. "The unconscionable loss of life is our responsibility", Blumenthal added.
"I'm profoundly, profoundly aggrieved by my body's reluctance to even take up the conversation about the future of gun policy in this country", Murphy said.