The 16-year-old gunman who shot himself after killing two classmates and wounding three other students in Southern California has died at a hospital, authorities said.
The junior at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita died Friday afternoon, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
The teen opened fire at the school Thursday – his birthday — and used his last bullet to shoot himself in the head. His motive remains a mystery.
“There’s nothing really that stands out (with the suspect). He wasn’t a loner. Wasn’t socially awkward. Was involved in student activities. Student athlete,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told CNN’s New Day. “This is kind of out of the blue, shocking pretty much everyone who knew him.”
Investigators are digging into the suspect’s social media and background, he said. He was identified as Nathaniel Berhow, and he lived with his mother, who was with him when he died. His father died in 2017 of natural causes.
There appears to be no connection between the shooter and the victims other than all were students, the sheriff said.
“He wasn’t chasing anyone,” Villanueva said. The victims “appeared to be who was around him, available at the time.”
Students followed their active shooter training
After the gunshots began, and five students were hit, training kicked in for thousands of pupils stunned that gun violence they had once protested had invaded their Southern California campus.
Many ran to safety, some hid, some covered windows, some barricaded doors shut. And some cared for victims who had been shot by a fellow student. A choir teacher barricaded her classroom and treated one of the victims.
“Kudos to all of them for a job well done and, hopefully, that’s a job we never have to do again,” Villanueva said Friday.
The sheriff said Saugus High School had an active shooter drill just a few weeks ago. The students on Thursday did exactly as they were trained, he said.
Authorities said that shortly before school was to begin at the school, the shooter walked into a campus area known as the quad, took a .45-caliber pistol from his backpack and shot the people near him before shooting himself.
Two students, Grace Anne Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14, died at a hospital. Three other teens were wounded and are expected to survive.
Detective dropping off child was first to aid victims
Training kicked in for three off-duty law enforcement officers and the school resource deputy who was just arriving at the school of 2,400 students.