The high school student alleged to have opened fire at Taft High School yesterday, specifically targeted one person because he was being bullied. He fired two rounds at students before facing his teacher, Ryan Heber, who is being hailed as a hero for talking the gunman down.
Thanks to the teen’s correspondence with Heber, other students were able to escape to safety. “I don’t want to shoot you,” the suspect reportedly told the teacher.
According to authorities, the shooter was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and walked into his science class at around 9 a.m. Only 10 minutes before the shooting, administrators were going over new measures enforced in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“He then interrupted the class half-way through it armed with a shotgun. He fired the first round striking another student,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.
Roughly 20 minutes later officers arrived at the scene while the student surrendered his weapon. “This teacher and this counselor stood there face-to-face not knowing if he was going to shoot them,” Youngblood continued. “They probably expected the worst and hoped for the best, but they gave the students a chance to escape.”
Heber was reportedly grazed in the forehead by a stray pellet, but was unaware of his injury. “He’s the nicest teacher I know,” said student Oscar Nuno. “He loves his students and he always wants to help.”
Taft High School is closed today but will re-open Monday. The student who was shot remains in critical but stable condition, while the shooting suspect is behind bars.