The student who opened fire at his Southern California high school on his 16th birthday, killing two students and injuring three others before shooting himself in the head, died Friday, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said.
He “was being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, when he succumbed to his injuries,” officials said in a statement. “His mother was present at the time of his passing.”
Earlier Friday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the Thursday morning attack appeared to have been planned, but, “it still remains a mystery why.”
“We know it was a planned attack,” he said. “It was deliberate.”
The suspected gunman, identified by multiple law enforcement officers as Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, pulled a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol from his backpack in the quad area of Saugus High School and opened fire, according to officials.
The first reports of the shooting were logged at 7:38 a.m. Thursday, they said.
The suspect had been dropped off at school by his mother, the sheriff said. He was standing by himself, walked to the quad area, dropped his backpack and started firing, striking random targets, Villanueva said.
He cleared a malfunction with the weapon and was able to squeeze off several shots, all within 16 seconds, the sheriff said. He “seemed very familiar with firing the weapon,” he said.
Villanueva said students recently underwent active shooter training and when violence erupted Thursday, “did exactly as they were trained” by running and hiding.
School resource Deputy James Callahan told reporters he was on-scene within minutes and administered CPR to victims. “I immediately entered the school … and saw three gunshot victims on the ground,” he said.
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner identified the deceased as Gracie Muehlberger, 16, and Dominic Blackwell, 14.
One wounded victim was released from the hospital Thursday night, while a 14-year-old girl and 15-year-old girl who were shot remained hospitalized Friday but were expected to be released in coming days.
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SOURCE: NBC News – Elisha Fieldstadt and Dennis Romero