SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (NBC News) — Police say a 16-year-old boy who shot five students at his Los Angeles-area high school on his birthday has died.
He “was being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, when he succumbed to his injuries,” officials said in a statement to NBC News. “His mother was present at the time of his passing.”
Earlier Friday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff said the Thursday morning attack at Saugus High School appeared to have been planned.
“It still remains a mystery why,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
The suspected gunman, identified by multiple law enforcement officers as Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, pulled a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol from his backpack in the school’s quad area and opened fire around 7:30 a.m., according to officials.
Villanueva said the suspect had been dropped off at school by his mother. He was standing by himself, walked to the quad area, dropped his backpack and started firing, striking random targets, the sheriff added.
Two teenagers died in the attack.
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner identified the deceased as Gracie Muehlberger, 16, and Dominic Blackwell, 14.
One wounded victim was released from the hospital Thursday night, while a 14-year-old girl and 15-year-old girl who were shot remained hospitalized Friday but were expected to be released in the coming days.
All of the schools in Saugus’ William S. Hart Union High School District were closed Friday, but counselors would be available for students and staff at a nearby church, according to a statement from deputy superintendent Mike Kuhlman.
“I know our entire school community shares my profound sadness and disbelief,” Kuhlman said in the statement to NBC News. “Hold your children tight. Love them. Praise them for being responsible in the face of fear.”