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LA County Sheriff: 16 Year-Old School Shooting Suspect Used Semi-Automatic Handgun

Santa Clarita, California — The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department confirmed the suspect in Thursday's shooting at Saugus High School was a 16 year-old male student. He used a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun to carry out the attack.


At a press conference, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the suspect shot five students early in the school day before shooting himself in the head. Police arrived within two minutes after receiving the first call. Upon arrival, they found the victims and transported those who had been shot to a nearby hospital.

Police later discovered, through watching the school's security cameras, one of the wounded that had been taken to the hospital was the suspected shooter. He is currently in "grave" condition. Before and during the press conference, it was announced two of the wounded had died. One was a 14 year-old male and the other was a 16 year-old female.

Police added the suspect had fired all the rounds in his magazine. It also turns out that Thursday is the suspected gunman's birthday.

Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean revealed she has a granddaughter who attends Saugus High School. She said when she first heard about the shooting, "the feeling that went over me was indescribable...I felt the same thing as our families."


California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and the Giffords Law Center gives the state an "A" rating for its strict measures.

In addition to having universal background checks, other laws in the state require all firearm purchasers to obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate and pass a written test, limit the purchases of handguns to one per person per month, and impose a ten-day waiting period prior to the sale or transfer of a firearm.

Villanueva said they are still determining how the suspect obtained the firearm as he is not old enough to have legally purchased it. The age limit to purchase a handgun across the country is 21 years-old.


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