"Their Actions Saved Lives": These Heroes Had Just Dropped Their Kids Off When They Heard The Shots
"Their actions saved lives."
They "did not hesitate, turned around and went right into the source of the gunfire to attempt to neutralize it," said LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Off-duty officers Gus Ramirez of the LAPD, Sean Yanez of the Inglewood Police Department and Detective Daniel Finn of the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station had just dropped their kids off at school - then they heard shots fired and saw students running.
Without hesitation, the officers "turned around and went right into the source of the gunfire to attempt to neutralize it," said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva in a statement.
The off-duty officers were the first to arrive on the scene at Saugus High, just moments after shots rang out on Thursday morning.
What they heard was this: a shot, followed by a brief pause, then four more shots in succession.
Shooter Nathaniel Berhow had arrived on campus, taken a .45 caliber pistol out of his backpack and, without saying a word, opened fire. After shooting the first student, his gun jammed, but he quickly cleared the jam and proceeded to shoot four more students before turning the gun on himself. The whole thing took about 16 seconds.
When the off-duty officers arrived on the scene moments later, they found 3 students bleeding on the ground and immediately turned their attention to the victims, administering first aid to the wounded.
"Their actions definitely saved lives," reports Sheriff Villanueva.
Three of the five wounded students survived, two girls aged 14 and 15, who remain hospitalized in stable condition, and a boy aged 14 who has been treated and released to his family.
SANTA CLARITA SHOOTING: So fantastic to see this smiling face! Addison’s dad is sharing this photo — his daughter, shot yesterday at Saugus High School, should be released in the next day or two, according to trauma surgeons. ❤️???????? #abc7eyewitness pic.twitter.com/vf68lGs5o9— Marc Cota-Robles (@abc7marccr) November 15, 2019
Unfortunately, the two other wounded students, 16-year-old Gracie Anne Muehlberger and 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell, died at the hospital.
Today a lil guy with a big heart lost his life in the Saugus Shooting. He was always smiling making people laugh, always positive, he was the sweetest kid ever and such a good kid. We need more people like you long live dominic blackwell, love you????❤ #LLDB #santaclaritashooting pic.twitter.com/lAE7lfImJM— anthony martinez (@martin3zanthony) November 15, 2019
NBC reports that Nathaniel, who turned 16 on the day of the shooting, also died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
At this time, the shooter's motive and the origin of the gun are unknown, though Nathaniel's father, who passed away in 2017, was an avid hunter with a collection of weapons.
Sheriff Villanueva recognized the heroism of the off-duty officers, noting that even in dangerous and tragic situations, there are those willing to put themselves in harm's way to help others.
May God’s comfort be felt at this most difficult time.— Inglewood Police (@Inglewood_PD) November 15, 2019
The Inglewood Police Department has also been made aware of the heroic efforts of one of our own, Officer Sean Yanez.
The departments ask that the officers' privacy be respected at this time.
Our deepest respect and gratitude to the off-duty officers and all the first responders.