Off-duty officers were 1st on scene of Southern California school shooting


Hannah Schooping-Gutierrez, center, a student at Saugus High School, is comforted by her boyfriend Declan Sheridan, at right, a student at nearby Valencia High School during a vigil at Central Park in the aftermath of a shooting at Saugus Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KTLA) — An off-duty sheriff’s deputy and two off-duty police officers who had family members at Saugus High School were the first to respond to Thursday’s mass-shooting that left two students dead and three more wounded before the teenage gunman shot and critically wounded himself, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

Detective Daniel Finn, who is assigned to the detective bureau at the sheriff’s Santa Clarita Station, had just dropped a family member off at the school when the gunfire rang out, the sheriff said.

“(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,” Villanueva said. “He turned around and became the very first person on scene.”

“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.

Uniformed deputies from the sheriff’s Santa Clarita Station arrived within a minute, the sheriff said. Deputy James Callahan, who works as a school resource officer at Saugus High School, was also on the scene within a matter of moments.

The deputies and officers used trauma kits that were available at the school to help stem the victims’ bleeding.

“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.

“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 said. “Their actions definitely saved lives, and my hat’s off to them.”

Several first responders have children who attend the school and were on campus at the time, L.A. County Deputy Fire Chief Vince Pena noted.

The two students killed in the shooting have been described by authorities as a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl.

Two girls, ages 14 and 15, were listed in good to fair condition, hospital officials said. Another 14-year-old boy wounded by gunfire was treated at a hospital and released by Thursday afternoon.

Another student suffered injuries in the shooting that were not due to gunfire, authorities said.

The shooter, 16, was listed in grave condition, sheriff’s officials said.

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