Police: Teacher’s heroics saved lives

Police chief thanks those who helped to prevent a massacre at a California high school yesterday.

LOS ANGELES — A teacher at a high school in California has been praised by police for averting a serious shooting incident.

The teacher and a campus supervisor talked a gunman into putting down his weapon after he had shot and injured one pupil at Taft Union High School.

Police said the gunman had enough ammunition to kill many people.

The injured student was taken to hospital in an air ambulance and is in a critical condition.

The drama started after 9 a.m. when the gunman, also a student, arrived late, armed with a shotgun, at the school in the small town in California’s central valley.

Students and staff telephoned police, but before officers could arrive, the suspect had shot at two people in a class in the science block. One shot missed its target.

The teacher, who had been grazed by a pellet, then intervened.

He and another school official who entered the classroom are reported by US media to have warned the suspect that there would be no shooting in his class – at which point the gunman put down his weapon and police officers arrested him.

“They talked him into putting that shotgun down. He in fact told the teacher, ‘I don’t want to shoot you’, and named the person that he wanted to shoot,” Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said.

“The heroics of these two people goes without saying. They could have just as easily … tried to get out of the classroom and left students, and they didn’t,” he added.

Parents of pupils said the suspect had been suspended last year from the school 190 kilometres north of Los Angeles. (BBC)

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