(TAFT, Calif.) — A California high school teacher is being hailed a hero for talking a 16-year-old shooter into putting down his gun and turning himself in after opening fire on a classroom and wounding another student, police said.
The student victim was taken to a nearby hospital and remains in critical but stable condition, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told reporters on Thursday.
The teacher, whose name has not yet been officially released by authorities, helped evacuate nearly two dozen students out a door at Taft Union High School in Taft, Calif., while calmly engaging the young gunman, who is a student at Taft Union, in conversation.
The teacher and a campus supervisor, who responded to the gunfire and arrived at the classroom, helped convince the teenager to stop shooting.
“They talked him into putting the shotgun down,” Youngblood said.
The shooting began around 9 a.m. Thursday in the school’s science building and sheriff’s deputies were on the scene within one minute of the call. An armed security guard who is typically at the school was not on campus because he had been snowed in, the sheriff said.
Two other students received minor injuries: One reported hearing loss and the other fell over a table. The teacher was shot with a pellet, but refused medical treatment, according to police.
The school’s 900 students were evacuated from the building and many of them were met by parents within minutes of the first 911 calls.
Thursday’s shooting comes less than month after 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children and six adults.
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