Nathaniel Berhow has been identified as the teen who opened fire in Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, in an attack that killed two and left others critically injured.
A number of news outlets confirmed Berhow’s identity as the shooting suspect. Berhow, who was initially reported to be 15-years-old, carried out the attack on his 16th birthday, police said at a press conference on Thursday morning.
The shooting was perplexing for those who knew Berhow, a track and field athlete who reportedly came from a good family. A teammate named Brooke Hougo told the Los Angeles Times that she remembered Berhow as a quiet student and had no idea he was capable of such an attack.
“I would have never expected anything like this,” Hougo said.
As Fox 29 reported, police responded to reports of an active shooter at the high school at close to 7:45 a.m. Reports indicated that two people were killed and five others injured, including some who were listed in critical condition at nearby hospitals.
Initial reports indicated that police investigated whether there may have been threats at other schools, but were able to determine that the Saugus High School shooting was an isolated incident.
“We believe at this time that there is only one suspect but we are actively investigating and following all leads,” the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s wrote in a tweet.
Police later announced that Berhow, who at that time had not been named, was taken into custody at the scene, and the gun used in the shooting was seized. Police had originally said they were looking for an Asian male student wearing black clothing who they believed had escaped the school following the shooting, but later said in a press conference that the suspect had opened fire with a .45 caliber semi-automatic firearm on the school’s campus, shooting five students before turning the gun on himself.
There were conflicting reports on the Saugus High School shooting suspect in the immediate aftermath. MSNBC reported initially that the shooter was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but later reports indicated that he had been taken to a hospital and was alive. He was listed in grave condition.
NEW: Saugus High School shooting suspect in custody????https://t.co/yxSEx6wM6r— CBS News Radio (@CBSNewsRadio) November 14, 2019
The shooting came as a shock to Berhow’s neighbors, who said the teen came from a good family.
“All I can tell you from what I know is they were wonderful, wonderful people,” a neighbor, who asked not to be identified, told the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make sense.”
The woman said that the family had recently suffered a tragedy, and online records show that a man identified as Berhow’s father died in December of 2017.
“He was in scouting, he was in track and a very kind, sweet boy,” the neighbor said. “I don’t understand the psychology.”
There were little details about the potential motive for the shooting, and authorities have not yet released information on Berhow.