At approximately 9:00am yesterday, a 16 year old male student with a shotgun entered a classroom in the science building of Taft Union High School and fired a shot, critically wounding another student in the upper chest. According to witnesses, the gunman then called out the name of a second student and fired again, but failed to hit anyone. A teacher and campus supervisor were able to convince the gunman to surrender his weapon, at which point the students were able to flee the classroom. The gunman was subsequently taken into police custody. Authorities are not identifying the shooter as he is a juvenile. However, social media postings claim his name is Brian Oliver. In addition to the critically wounded male student, the teacher suffered a minor pellet wound to the head but refused medical attention. Two female students also received minor injuries in the aftermath of the shooting.
The gunman is believed to have pre-planned the shooting the night before, leaving the house with his brother’s shotgun and his pockets filled with ammunition.
Rumors on several social media sites indicate that the shooter may have been suspended for compiling a “hit list” last year. This remains unconfirmed.
According to the Kern County Sheriff, the shooter “believed that the two people he had targeted had bullied him.”
Statements made by law enforcement indicate that the motive for the shooting may have been bullying, particularly because it appears that the gunman targeted specific students. Authorities believe that the shooting was pre-planned as the suspect secured his brother’s shotgun and ammunition the night before the attack. Surveillance cameras also reveal that the suspect attempted to conceal the shotgun as he entered the building, arriving to his first period class late. If rumors that the suspect was previously suspended for creating a hit list are true, preparations for the shooting may have started as long as a year ago.
In this case, Taft Union High School’s pre-planned lockdown procedure went into effect, in which students and faculty were advised over the PA system that the school was going into lockdown. In total, the attack lasted approximately 20 minutes. Typically, there are 15 minutes between the initiation of an active shooter event and the arrival of law enforcement. Organizations and schools should have their own emergency action plans including an employee training element on how to respond in the event of a workplace violence or active shooter situation. For more on how to secure a school environment, please see information on MSA’s recently published guide.