A student opened fire in a central California high school on Thursday, critically wounding another student and striking at least one other person, law enforcement officials said.
SWAT teams stormed Taft Union High School around 9:30 a.m. local time in Taft, Calif., about 40 miles south of Bakersfield. Authorities rushed to the school after calls came in that a gunman had opened fire in the science building, Ryan Dunbier, a senior deputy with the Kern County Sheriff's Department, told the Daily News.
A student was struck in the upper right chest and was airlifted to Bakersfield hospital in critical condition, Dunbier said. As many as two other people were also hurt, including one teacher. One wounded person was hurt after tripping in the panic inside the building, Dunbier said. That person refused medical treatment.
Terrified students were evacuated and worried parents gathered to pick their kids up in a nearby football field.
A mother who rushed to the school in tears told KERO-TV that she was "hurt" that such an incident could happen in Taft, a quiet, agricultural town of about 10,000 people.
The mother said her daughter called 911 on her cell phone when the shooting broke out and then called home. "She was laying down with the other kids....I couldn't understand her...she said 'mom, there's blood everywhere.'"
"My friend's been shot, my teacher has been shot," the student told her mother.
Officers went room-to-room to clear the school after all the students were evacuated, Dunbier said.
The school shooting came as Vice President Joe Biden meets with victims of gun violence and gun rights groups to try and hammer out legislation to curb gun violence in the U.S. He is due to give recommendations to President Barack Obama next Tuesday.
The president put Biden in charge of a task force to examine gun control laws following the massacre of 20 small children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Conn., on Dec. 14.