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A teenager opened fire on a central California campus this morning, wounding a classmate in yet another terrifying school shooting, officials said.
The suspected gunman at Taft High School has been taken into custody and a 12-gauge shotgun recovered, authorities said.
Pruitt said the gunman was talked into surrendering by teacher and staff members.
The wounded student was airlifted to Kern Medical Center in neighboring Bakersfield, and is in critical but stable condition, officials said. The gunman fired on another student but missed, cops said.
A cool, calm teacher prevented what could have been another massacre when he ushered other students out of class and then “engaged” the shooter in conversation, officials said.
Then a campus supervisor joined the tense talks and the gunman put down his weapon before he was arrested, police said.
All of the heart-stopping event happened inside the classroom of science teacher Ryan Heber, sources close to the family said.
The student called her mom after dialing 911 and reported: “My friend's been shot, my teacher has been shot."
The wounded student was found lying in a pool of blood, a parent of a student in the classroom told 23ABC News.
The entire campus went on lockdown around 9 a.m. and it took hours for cops to clear out terrified students, hiding in classrooms and closets, officials said.
Two other students were hurt in the attack -- a girl with possible hearing loss when the shotgun was fired near her ear, and another young lady who fell hard while bolting from the gunfire, authorities said.
During a briefing today, officials said that a Taft police officer is usually assigned to the school but that officer was not in the school today because he was snowed in.
Officials said the gunman had intended targets based on a previous "conflict," but there weren't further details about what the conflict was about.
The gunman did not attend class on time today but showed up halfway thorugh first period with a shotgun, officials said.
The teacher in the cla
Schools Superintendent Dr. Bill McDermott said school is closed tomorrow but counselors will be available tomorrow for students and staff. McDermott said classes will resume Monday.
McDermott said he believed this is the first shooting at the school.
"This is such a gutwrenching and emotional situation when you have a place where people are trying to learn and get along...my heart went out to the folks in Connecitcut," McDermott said.
"We are very luck y in the fact that we do have a police officer on campus who is armed. Unfortunately they can't be in every place at all times"
Taft is a community of about 7,000 residents, some 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
This shooting comes less than a month after the Newtown, Conn. school massacre where gunman Adam Lanza slaughtered 20 young students and six educators before taking his own life.
News of the shooting broke as Vice President Joe Biden delivered remarks on gun control efforts.
"Judy and I offer our prayers to the victims, their families and the entire Taft community," US Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), the GOP majority whip whose district includes Taft. ssroom told police that between two and four shots were fired, officials said.