15 Nov 2019

California high school shooting: two teenagers killed

9:30 am on 15 November 2019

A gunman opened fire at a California high school killing a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, officials say.

Santa Clarita Valley branch sheriffs gather near Saugus High School where a shooting has taken place.

Santa Clarita Valley branch sheriffs gather near Saugus High School where a shooting has taken place. Photo: Twitter / LA County Sheriffs

A 16-year-old suspect wounded three other teens before shooting himself. He was in hospital in grave condition, officials said.

"We believe at this time that there is only one suspect but we are actively investigating and following all leads," the Santa Clarita Valley branch of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office said on Twitter. A weapon was recovered at the scene, a police officer told NBC television.

At this point, we have no indication of any motive or ideology," FBI Agent Paul Delacourt said.

In addition to the two dead students, two other girls, aged 14 and 15, were wounded, as was a 14-year old boy, Captain Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told a news conference.

The suspect was described by police as a male student at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 65km north of Los Angeles.

The incident marked yet another school shooting in the United States, where repeated mass shootings in recent years have intensified the debate about gun control and the constitutional right for citizens to keep and bear arms.

This is at least the 85th incident of gunfire on school grounds this year, according to Everytown, an advocacy group pushing for stricter gun laws.

Video from local NBC television showed a line of students walking away from the school and a row of police and fire department vehicles parked out front.

Saugus High School and all schools in the William S. Hart district were placed on lockdown while authorities flooded the area.

Some 2300 students attend the high school, which is made up of more than a dozen buildings.

Some of the wounded were being treated in a grassy area on the school's campus, the Los Angeles Times reported. At least one injured person was found in the school's choir room, authorities told the newspaper.

The scene at Saugus High School was reminiscent of other recent mass shootings at schools across the United States, including the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student with an assault gun killed 17 people on 14 February 2018.

The Valentine's Day massacre at Stoneman ignited a nationwide student-led movement, calling for school and gun safety. In August, survivors of that shooting released a sweeping gun-control plan that would ban assault-style rifles and take other steps with the aim of halving US firearms deaths and injuries within a decade.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, where two teenagers went on a rampage, fatally shooting 12 students and a teacher and wounding more than 20 others before killing themselves.

- Reuters