Latest on Taft Union High School shooting in Bakersfield, California
Another school shooting has occurred in Bakersfield, California at Taft Union High School. KERO-TV is live streaming their coverage. At least 2 students were reportedly shot. One student was airlifted to the Bakersfield hospital. I’ll update you as the situation continues to unfold.
UPDATE: I noted earlier that Taft Union has an armed police officer, or School Resource Officer, patrolling the campus. It turns out that he didn’t make it to work today because he was snowed in, according to Sheriff Donny Youngblood during today’s press conference.
Had another teacher and a campus supervisor not talked the shooter down from firing more rounds, Youngblood stressed, the situation could have been far worse. Youngblood estimated that some 20 additional students were at risk. Police arrived at the scene a minute after the first calls came in at 9:00 a.m. PST., and the suspect was in custody by 9:20 a.m.
When news of the shooting first broke, I noted that there is no proof an armed guard on campus can prevent or even mitigate the severity of a school shooting, as the NRA would have us believe. While this certainly remains the case, the ability of school personnel to talk down the shooter demonstrates that “good guys with guns” aren’t the only answer to “bad guys with guns”. By limiting the gun control debate to such cartoonish terms, the gun lobby successfully stifles our creativity to think outside their narrow box.
UPDATE: Details from police
Here’s a full picture of what went down at Taft Union High School this morning, from the Associated Press:
A 16-year-old student armed with a shotgun walked into class in a rural California high school on Thursday and shot one student, fired at another but missed, and then was talked into surrendering by a teacher and another staff member, officials said.
The teen victim was in critical but stable condition, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told a press conference. The sheriff said the teacher suffered a minor pellet wound to the head but declined treatment.
When the shots were fired, the teacher began trying to get the more than two dozen students out a back door and also engaged the shooter in conversation to distract him, Youngblood said. A campus supervisor responding to a call of shots fired also began talking to him.
“They talked him into putting the shotgun down,” Youngblood said.
The sheriff said that at one point the shooter told the teacher, “I don’t want to shoot you” and named the person he wanted to shoot.
The shooter may have had up to 20 shotgun rounds in his pockets, he said.
Officials said there’s usually an armed officer on campus but the person wasn’t there because he was snowed in. Taft police officers arrived within 60 seconds of first reports.
UPDATE: Police say SWAT teams stormed school
The New York Daily News reports:
SWAT teams stormed Taft Union High School around 9:30 a.m. local time in Taft, Calif., about 40 miles south of Bakersfield. Authorities rushed to the school after calls came in that a gunman had opened fire in the science building, Ryan Dunbier, a senior deputy with the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, told the Daily News.
UPDATE: Shooter used a shotgun (police)
CNN had to ironically cut from footage of Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with gun rights advocates to breaking news about the latest school shooting following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. Here’s the clip, captured by Thinkprogress:
TAFT UNION HAS AN ARMED GAURD
In the meantime, I’m curious whether there was an armed guard at the school, which the NRA suggests will prevent shootings. So I read over Taft’s most recently updated School Accountability Report Card, or SARC, which is available on the school’s website. Under the subheading School Safety, the report states that ”Two campus supervisors and a uniform deputy sheriff (the school resource officer) monitor the cam- pus before, during and after school.”
I imagine the school resource officer is armed with a firearm given that she/he is a a uniform deputy sheriff. Perhaps she/he was responsible for stopping the shooting. If so, we’ll find out soon enough. This much we do know: the mere presence of an armed guard isn’t enough to deter gun violence in schools. Then again we’ve known that since Columbine, which had an armed school resource officer who wasn’t able to stop that massacre either.