Santa Clarita, CA – Three off-duty law enforcement officers were the first on the scene of the active shooter at Saugus High School on Thursday morning because they were already there dropping their children off at school.
Authorities received a 911 call at about 7:38 a.m. on Nov. 14 reporting an active shooter who had shot multiple students on the high school campus, NBC News reported.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detective Daniel Finn was already there and saw students running away from the school building after he dropped his own child off at school, KTLA reported.
Det. Finn doubled back and ran into the school.
"[He] was exiting, driving away from the school along the perimeter, when he saw all of the children running away from the sound of the gunfire," Sheriff Villanueva told reporters. "He turned around and became the very first person on scene."
The sheriff said that the detective was joined almost immediately by two additional fathers of Saugus High School students who were also law enforcement officers, KTLA reported.
"He was accompanied by Officer Sean Yanez from the Inglewood Police Department and Officer Gus Ramirez from LAPD. So the three of them were the very first on scene and they entered the school literally within seconds of the shooting," he said.
Det. Finn, Officer Yanez, and Officer Gus Ramirez were on the scene of the shooting in the quad by 7:40 a.m., but that was already too late.
The shooting spree was over 16 seconds after it began, according to the sheriff.
Sheriff Villanueva said that additional deputies responding to the scene were in the quad of the school by 7:41 a.m., and that deputies and officers all began performing life-saving treatment on the victims immediately, KTLA reported.
“As soon as they saw the six victims, they saw the handgun was there, they realized there was not a pending threat immediately and they tended to the care of all of the victims and got the first aid rolling," the sheriff said.
The school had trauma kits on hand and the law enforcement officers grabbed them and put them to work.
"Off-duty first responders were there and did not hesitate, turned around and went right into the source of the gunfire to attempt to neutralize it, and they rendered first aid immediately," he continued. "Their actions definitely saved lives, and my hat’s off to them."
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Homicide Captain Kent Wegener said that surveillance video from the school’s security system clearly showed the gunman drew a handgun out of his backpack and shot five other students before turning the gun on himself in the quad area outside the classrooms.
A 16-year-old female victim and a 14-year-old male victim died at the hospital, NBC News reported.
A hospital spokesperson said that one male shooting victims remained in “critical condition” and another boy was in “good condition.” He would not confirm any information regarding the shooter.
NBC News reported that the shooter was in “grave condition” and was being kept on life support because he was an organ donor.
Two more female students were reportedly being treated for gunshot wounds at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, NBC News reported.
One of the girls was in “good condition” and the other was in “fair condition.”
Authorities have not yet identified a motive for the school shootings committed by a junior at Saugus High School on his 16th birthday, KCBS reported.
The gunman, a former Boy Scout, does not fit the typical lone-wolf, school-shooter profile.
Officials have said that the shooter had a girlfriend, ran cross-country, and played baseball for his high school, KCBS reported.
His father recently died from a cardiac-related illness and neighbors said the son was shaken by his father’s death.
The sheriff said they have not yet determined where the gunman got the .45-caliber handgun he used to shoot his classmates and himself, KTLA reported.
Sheriff Villanueva said that the shooter’s mother and sister were cooperating with the authorities.