Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET
Two students have died after a gunman opened fire Thursday at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., according to law enforcement officials. Three other students were also shot; one of them is said to be in critical condition.
The suspect has been identified as a 16-year-old student at the school. Officials say he carried out the attack on his birthday. The sheriff’s department says he shot himself on school grounds and was taken to the hospital along with his victims, and is in grave condition.
The suspect “is in custody and being treated at a local hospital,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says. A search warrant has been carried out at his home, as investigators work to determine what could have led to the tragic shooting.
Capt. Kent Wegener says detectives reviewed surveillance video footage from the high school that showed the suspect taking a handgun from his backpack and shooting five other people before shooting himself in the head. He added that the suspect used a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol that had no more bullets in it when it was recovered.
Most of the victims were transported to Henry Mayo Hospital, which says that three of them — two males and one female — arrived in critical condition. The female patient later died, followed by one of the male patients. Another male student was in good condition, the hospital said.
Law enforcement officials had described the suspect as a male wearing black clothing.
“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 Station says.
The school became the scene of a large evacuation, as lines of students were led through its parking lot to a secured area. Officials set up a reunification point at Central Park, across a major roadway south of the school.
The shooting took place before the start of classes, shortly after 7 a.m. local time. “Deputies responded to reports of shots fired,” the sheriff’s station said via Twitter. “This is an active shooter situation.”
After deputies reached the school, they cleared out the campus and began a systematic search for the suspect on school grounds and nearby.
Nearby residents were asked to “shelter in place and report any suspicious activity,” says Tim Murakami, undersheriff of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
In an update, the sheriff’s station said, “If you live in neighborhoods anywhere near Saugus High, PLEASE LOCK DOORS and stay inside. If you see suspect, male dark clothing, in backyards, etc. CALL 911.”
The shooting prompted a lockdown order for nearby elementary schools. A broader lockdown was ordered for the entire William S. Hart Union School District, but that was later rescinded.
This is a developing story. Some facts reported by the media may later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.