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Officials looking for motive in California school shooting

Searching for a motive

Investigators worked to figure out why a boy known as a “regular kid” opened fire outside a Southern California high school on his 16th birthday, killing two students and wounding more before turning the gun on himself.

Investigators so far offered no motive for Thursday’s shooting at Saugus High School in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita.

The teenager was described as a quiet and smart kid who was a Boy Scout and had previously run track for his school.

Gunfire began around 7:30 a.m. and authorities estimated that the suspect took just 16 seconds to pull out the weapon, shoot five classmates and then himself.

At the time, students were standing around and greeting each other in the large central outdoor area.

“He just fires from where he is. He doesn’t chase anybody. He doesn’t move,” sheriff’s homicide Capt. Kent Wegener said.

The teenager remained in critical condition, Henry Mayo Hospital spokesman Patrick Moody said Friday.

Video showed the last thing the assailant did was shoot himself with the final bullet in the .45-calibre handgun, Wegener said. The weapon was empty when it was recovered.

A 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy died.

Doctors said Friday morning that two girls, ages 14 and 15, who were both shot in the torso are doing well and should be released from the hospital in a day or two.

A 14-year-old boy was treated and released from another hospital, authorities said.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the shooter was a student at the school but did not identify him.

A post on an Instagram account that said “Saugus, have fun at school tomorrow” and reported as possibly belonging to the shooter was debunked.

The account did not belong to the shooter and it was disabled for violating policies, Instagram owner Facebook said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Friday.

Investigators were searching the suspect’s home. Wegener said the sheriff's department had not received any recent calls to the boy's house "that would indicate that there was turmoil" there.

Joe Fitzpatrick, a senior who helped the teacher in the boy’s physics class, called him a “good, quiet kid” who didn’t miss assignments and did well on tests.

“He just seemed like one of those regular kids,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fellow students and a neighbour say he was a Boy Scout who was smart, quiet and gave no indication he would become violent. One girl who knew him for years said he wasn’t bullied and had a girlfriend.

The sound of gunfire sent some students running while others and staff followed recently practiced security procedures.

Kyra Stapp, 17, was watching a documentary in class when she heard two gunshots. Panicked students ran in and reported the shooting.

Stapp texted her mother and tried not make any noise. They exchanged messages as sirens screamed and helicopters and deputies carrying rifles and shotguns swarmed the campus. Then Kyra fell silent while officers escorted students out.

“She’s been texting me and all of a sudden she’s not,” Tracy Stapp said. “That was like the worst 10 minutes of my life, I swear.”



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