Los Angeles school shooter dies in hospital from head wound

16 November 2019, 09:03

Students were led from Saugus High School by police
Students were led from Saugus High School by police. Picture: PA

By Megan White

A 16-year-old who killed two students and wounded three others at his southern California high school before turning a gun on himself has died.

Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow died from a head wound on Friday after the Saugus High School shooting without investigators discovering the motive for the attack.

His mother was present when he died, according to a Los Angeles Sheriff's Department statement.

Berhow, described by friends as quiet but funny and likeable, showed no signs of violence prior to the attack.

He opened fire around 7.30am on Thursday, his birthday, after being dropped off at school in Santa Clarita.

CCTV showed Berhow walk alone to the centre of a quad, drop his backpack, pull out the gun and start firing, police said.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said after opening fire Berhow "cleared a malfunction" with the gun and kept shooting.

He counted his rounds, Mr Villanueva said, firing about six shots and using the last bullet on himself. The attack took just 16 seconds.

Despite carrying out more than 40 interviews, police still do not know what prompted him to commit the crime, according to Captain Kent Wegener of the department's homicide unit.

He said no manifesto, diary or suicide note had been found.

"It still remains a mystery why," Mr Villanueva told a press conference.

He said it was "a planned attack, it was deliberate", but "we don't have" the details behind it.

"As far as we know the actual targets were at random," the sheriff said.

The dead were identified as 15-year-old Gracie Anne Muehlberger and 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell.

In a statement, Bryan and Cindy Muehlberger said they shared the news of their daughter's death with "unexplainable brokenness."

They described her as their "Cinderella, the daughter we always dreamed to have," and said her two brothers were heartbroken.

"She will never get to drive a car, fall in love, build a career, get married, have children and do all the other things everyone takes for granted in this short thing called life," they said.

Two girls wounded in the attack, aged 14 and 15, were shot in the torso and should be released from the hospital over the weekend, doctors said Friday.

A 14-year-old boy was treated and released.

Berhow was described as a quiet and smart child who was a Boy Scout and had previously run track for his school.

"You have the image of a loner, someone who is socially awkward, doesn't get along, some violent tendencies, dark brooding and online strange postings - stuff like that," Mr Villanueva said.