Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Student injured in school shooting

Paramedics transport a student wounded during a shooting at a high school in California (AP/Taft Midway Driller, Doug Keeler)
Officials tape off an area outside a high school in California following a shooting (AP/Taft Midway Driller, Doug Keeler)

One student has been injured in a shooting at a rural high school in California and another has been taken into custody, US officials have said.

The shooting happened at about 9am local time on Thursday at Taft Union High School, in a community of fewer than 10,000 people amid oil and natural gas production fields in the San Joaquin Valley, about 120 miles (193km) north-west of Los Angeles.

The student who was shot was flown to a hospital in Bakersfield, said Ray Pruitt, spokesman for the Kern County Sheriff's Department. There was no immediate word on the victim's condition. Mr Pruitt said the suspect is also a student, and a shotgun was used in the attack.

Kern County Fire Department Eric Coughran told KBAK-TV that another person had suffered some type of injuries in the incident but refused medical attention.

KERO-TV Bakersfield reported that the station had received phone calls from people inside the school who hid in cupboards. It was not immediately clear how many students are enrolled at the high school.

The Taft shooting came less than a month after a gunman massacred 20 children and six women at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before killing himself. That shooting prompted President Barack Obama to promise new efforts to curb gun violence. Vice President Joe Biden, who was placed in charge of the initiative, said in Washington on Tuesday that he would deliver new policy proposals to the president by next week.

As word spread about the Taft shooting, Dayna Hopper rushed to the school to pick up her son, Joseph Sorensen, 16, and daughter, Cheryle Pryor, 15, who had called from Cheryle's mobile phone. "I panicked. I wanted to puke and just get here," Ms Hopper told The Bakersfield Californian.

The bell had just rung at a nearby school when teachers began shouting for students to get inside buildings, and the principal used an intercom to tell students to stay inside, Felicity Reich, 13, a student at Lincoln Junior High School, told the newspaper. Shaken, she held the hand of her mother, Ellie Reich, as she spoke.

Masses of parents headed to the school football field to find their children, and officials at other schools took action to protect their students as well, the newspaper said.

At the state Capitol, Assembly Speaker John Perez, a Democrat, said the thoughts and prayers of legislators were with the people at the Taft school. He said: "It really is just another very sad moment as we deal with the ongoing reality of gun violence that has captured so much of our attention this last year."

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