Michigan school shooting ‘entirely preventable’, says $100-million federal lawsuit

Reuters) – A deadly shooting rampage at a Michigan high school last week was “entirely preventable,” according to a $100 million federal lawsuit filed on Thursday against the Michigan school district and its employees.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Riley Franz, 17, who was shot in the neck, and her sister Bella, 14, who was next to her when she was shot in the Nov. 30 incident at Oxford High School in suburban Oakland County, some 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Detroit.

The girls’ parents, Jeffrey and Brandi Franz, also are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.

Riley Franz was among 6 students and a teacher seriously injured in the gunfire that killed 4 students.

Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old student, was being held without bail after he was charged as an adult in the attack, the deadliest U.S. school shooting of 2021.

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, who gave him the gun as an early Christmas present and are accused of then ignoring warning signs that he was planning a shooting at the high school, were charged with involuntary manslaughter and were being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

The lawsuit was filed against Oxford Community School District, superintendent Timothy Throne, principal Steven Wolf, dean of students Ryan Moore, two unnamed teachers and two unnamed counselors.

The district did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The lawsuit seeks $100 million on behalf of the Franz parents, and Riley – described as a 12th grade honor roll student preparing to enter college – and Bella, said to be a 9th grade star athlete getting ready for driver’s training.

“The horror of November 30, 2021 was entirely preventable,” said the lawsuit filed by Michigan personal injury attorney Geoffrey Fieger.

“Each and every defendant named herein created and increased the dangers then-existing at Oxford High School. The individually named Defendants are each responsible through their actions for making the student victims less safe.”

Among the many detailed accusations in the 44-page lawsuit were several detailing Ethan Crumbley’s threats of violence on social media as well as his search for ammunition on his cell phone.

Throne and Wolf reviewed social media posts and were aware of the ammunition search reported by a teacher prior to the shooting, the lawsuit said. Still, they reassured all parents by email and other correspondence that their children were safe at Oxford, the lawsuit said.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Michigan teen charged with 1st-degree murder, held without bond in shooting spree

 

By Brendan O’Brien and Peter Szekely

(Reuters) – A Michigan teenager was ordered held without bond on Wednesday after being charged with first-degree murder in the deadliest U.S. school shooting of the year, which killed four students and wounded seven other people.

Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore at a high school in Oxford, Michigan, about 40 miles (65 km) north of Detroit, was charged with a slew of criminal counts in Tuesday’s shooting spree, Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney Karen McDonald said.

“I am absolutely sure after reviewing evidence that it isn’t even a close call,” she told a briefing. “It was absolutely premeditated.”

In addition to four counts of first-degree murder, Crumbley faces one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, she said.

The shooting spree was the deadliest on U.S. school property this year, according to Education Week. It was the latest in a decades-long string of deadly American school shootings.

Crumbley, who is being charged as an adult, appeared on Wednesday at an online arraignment where Judge Nancy Carniak ordered him held without bond at the Oakland County Jail.

At the arraignment, Lieutenant Tim Willis of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said investigators had found videos that Crumbley recorded the night before in which he talked about shooting and killing students.

“Further, a journal was recovered from Ethan’s backpack also detailing his desire to shoot up the school to include murdering students,” Willis said.

Crumbley opened fire at Oxford High School with a semi-automatic handgun – which his father had purchased four days earlier – after emerging from a restroom shortly before 1 p.m. EST (1700 GMT) on Tuesday, authorities said.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Crumbley did not appear to be targeting any specific people during the shooting spree.

Three students hit by gunfire – Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17 – died on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said. The fourth, 17-year-old Justin Shilling, died on Wednesday.

Of the six students and one teacher who were wounded, three students remained hospitalized late on Wednesday afternoon, including a 17-year-old girl in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the chest, the sheriff’s office said. Four others, including the teacher, have been discharged.

MOTIVE UNCLEAR

Bouchard told a briefing that investigators have yet to determine a motive for the shooting, adding that there was no evidence Crumbley had been bullied.

But he said school officials had contact with Crumbley the day before the shooting and another meeting with him and his parents on the morning of the shooting “for behavior in the classroom that they felt was concerning.”

“The content of that meeting, obviously, is part of the investigation, but we did not learn of that meeting nor the content of that meeting until after the shooting and during this investigation,” he said.

More than 50,000 people had signed an online petition as of Wednesday morning to rename the school’s stadium after Myre, who played on Oxford High’s football team, saying he tried to disarm the shooter.

“Tate is not just a hero to his fellow students at Oxford High School but a legend, his act of bravery should be remembered forever and passed down through generations,” the petition on Change.org said.

Bouchard credited swift action by his deputies for preventing greater loss of life, saying they arrived on the scene within minutes and moved straight toward the sound of gunshots. Crumbley, who did not resist, was disarmed and taken into custody minutes after the shooting began, he said.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago and Peter Szekely in New York; Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Tyler Clifford in New York and Kat Jackson in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)

Deadly Michigan school shooting baffles police as young suspect keeps silent

By Steve Gorman and Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) – Investigators were reviewing video and reading the writings of a 15-year-old boy on Wednesday as they sought clues to what drove him to go on a deadly shooting spree at his high school north of Detroit, where he killed three fellow classmates.

The suspect, whose name was withheld by officials because he is a minor, opened fire on Tuesday with a handgun his father had purchased four days earlier, killing three students in Oxford, Michigan, about 40 miles (65 km) from Detroit.

Tate Myre, 16, died in a patrol car en route to a hospital. Hanna St. Julian, 14 and Madisyn Baldwin, 17, were also killed in the shooting. A teacher and seven other students were wounded, some critically, authorities said.

“It’s clear that he came out with the intent to kill people,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in an interview on CNN on Wednesday.

“He was shooting people at close range, oftentimes towards the head and chest. … It’s just absolutely coldhearted murders,” he said, adding that the shooter fired at least 30 shots.

Bouchard said investigators were poring over writings of the shooter they obtained in the middle of the night that contain “some of his thoughts.” They were also watching surveillance videos of the incident.

“We can’t get the motive from the suspect that we have in custody, but we think we’ve got a path to get a lot of supportive information as to how and why this occurred,” he said.

The incident was the latest in a decades-long string of deadly U.S. school shootings that will likely fuel debates about gun control and mental health care, with many states allowing easy access to firearms while mental health disorders often go untreated.

The suspect was armed with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun his father had purchased on Nov. 26, along with three 15-round magazines. Seven live rounds remained in the gun when the youth was arrested, the sheriff said late on Tuesday.

The suspect was disarmed and taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies minutes after the shooting began. He declined to speak with investigators after his parents retained a lawyer and denied authorities permission to interview their son, Bouchard said.

“The person who’s got the most insight on motive is not talking,” the sheriff said.

Bouchard said he was unaware of any previous run-ins with law enforcement by the suspect, a high school sophomore, adding that investigators had so far seen nothing to suggest a history of disciplinary problems or threats.

He said forensic technicians were collecting evidence from the crime scene, while detectives began collecting video footage from security cameras mounted around the school and interviewing witnesses and those acquainted with the suspect.

The sheriff said a search warrant was executed at the suspect’s home in Oxford and his cellphone was seized.

THREE DEAD, EIGHT WOUNDED

Bouchard credited swift action by his deputies for preventing greater loss of life, saying they arrived on the scene within minutes and moved straight toward the sound of gunshots.

Officers confronted the young assailant advancing down a hallway toward them with a loaded weapon, and he put his hands over his head and surrendered, Bouchard said.

The precise sequence of events during the violence remained unclear, but police believe the student carried the weapon into school in a backpack, the sheriff said.

“The only information I have is that he came out of a bathroom with a weapon, and I don’t know where he went first,” Bouchard said.

Prosecutors will decide what charges to bring and whether the suspect should be treated as an adult or juvenile, the sheriff said.

The boy, who was unharmed, was being detained in a special cell under suicide watch at a juvenile detention center, Oakland County Executive David Coulter said.

Of the seven other students struck by gunfire, three of them – a 15-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to the head and two girls with chest wounds, aged 14 and 17 – were hospitalized in critical condition, Bouchard said. The younger girl was on a ventilator after surgery.

The four remaining teenage victims – three boys and a girl – were listed in serious or stable condition, he said

One teacher was treated for a shoulder wound and later discharged.

The boy apparently “had been shooting” the gun before Tuesday’s attack and had posted pictures of the weapon and a target he was using, according to the sheriff.

(By Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Jonathan Oatis)

Three students shot dead, six people wounded at Michigan high school; suspect arrested

(Reuters) – A 15-year-old boy killed three fellow high school students and wounded six other people upon opening fire with a semi-automatic handgun at a Michigan high school, and he was quickly taken into custody, police said.

At least one of those wounded was a teacher at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, about 40 miles (65 km) north of Detroit, the Oakland County Sheriff’s office said.

“The suspect fired multiple shots,” Undersheriff Michael McCabe told reporters at the scene. “There’s multiple victims. It’s unfortunate I have to report that we have three deceased victims right now, who are believed to be students.”

The suspect, a sophomore at the school, was believed to have acted alone and was arrested without resistance after firing 15 to 20 shots, McCabe said.

“The whole thing lasted five minutes,” McCabe said.

WDIV television reported the suspect divulged nothing to police and demanded his right to speak with a lawyer.

Student Abbey Hodder told the Detroit Free Press that she was in chemistry class when she heard the sound of glass breaking.

“My teacher kind of ran out and was scrambling,” Hodder, 15, told the newspaper. “The next thing I knew I saw he was pushing tables. It’s part of school protocol to barricade, so we all knew, barricade, barricade down. And we all started pushing tables.”

McCabe praised the school for its preparation for a shooting and an orderly evacuation.

President Joe Biden was told of the shooting by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in advance of a tour and remarks at a Minnesota technical college, Press Secretary Jan Psaki told reporters.

“My heart goes out to the families enduring the unimaginable grief of losing a loved one,” Biden said from Minnesota.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer called the shooting “horrific.”

“As Michiganders, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect each other from gun violence,” Whitmer, a Democrat, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles, Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru, Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, Calif.; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Matthew Lewis)

Russia charges 19-year-old over school shooting

By Dmitry Madorsky

KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) -A 19-year-old man was charged on Wednesday with multiple counts of murder over a school shooting in Russia that left nine people dead, as state investigators said that he was diagnosed last year with a brain disease.

Ilnaz Galyaviev appeared in court dressed in black, accused of opening fire at School 175 in the city of Kazan in an attack that killed seven children and two adults and wounded many more.

He behaved calmly and confidently and told the court he had no serious illnesses. He did not give a plea.

A court ordered Galyaviev to be held in custody for two months pending trial. State investigators said he had fired at least 17 rounds and detonated an explosive device in the attack in the city 450 miles (725 km) east of Moscow.

The Investigative Committee, which handles probes into serious crimes, said that Galyaviev’s relatives had noticed him behaving aggressively and having a short temper this year.

In a statement, it said that he had repeatedly sought medical treatment for severe headaches and that he was also diagnosed with a brain disease last year.

The deadliest school shooting since 2018 when a student at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea killed 20 people has stunned the city of Kazan.

Mourners brought toys and flowers to the school in tribute from the early hours on Wednesday.

“(I came here) because this is such a disaster … It’s impossible to just remain indifferent,” a woman who gave her name only as Albina said after coming to pay her respects at School Number 175.

The head of Russia’s Muslim-majority region of Tatarstan, where Kazan is the main city, has called it a national tragedy and the Kremlin has called for tighter gun controls.

Russia has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership, but some categories of gun are available for purchase for hunting, self-defense or sport, once would-be owners have passed tests and met other requirements.

Around 100 people, some of them wearing face masks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, gathered at a traditional Muslim funeral for Elvira Ignatieva, an English teacher who was among the victims.

“She was protecting her children … She was protecting (them) and didn’t hide away,” said Talgat Gumerov, a Kazan resident.

Twenty-three people were still in hospital on Wednesday, including 12 children with gunshot wounds, the TASS news agency reported. Five children were in a serious condition and one of them was critical, it said.

(Reporting by Dmitry Madorsky; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage and Philippa Fletcher)

Nine killed, many wounded in Russian school shooting

By Andrew Osborn, Tom Balmforth and Alexander Marrow

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Nine people, including seven children, were killed on Tuesday and many more badly wounded after a lone teenage gunman opened fire in a school in the Russian city of Kazan, local authorities said, prompting a Kremlin call for tighter gun controls.

Two children could be seen leaping from the third floor of the four-story School Number 175 to escape as gunshots rang out, in a video filmed by an onlooker that was circulated by Russia’s RIA news agency.

“We heard the sounds of explosions at the beginning of the second lesson. All the teachers locked the children in the classrooms. The shooting was on the third floor,” said one teacher, quoted by Tatar Inform, a local media outlet.

Calling the attack a tragedy for the country, Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of the wider Tatarstan region, said there was no evidence that anyone else had been involved.

“We have lost seven children – four boys and three girls. We also lost a teacher. And we lost one more female staff worker,” he said in a video address.

“The terrorist has been arrested. He’s a 19-year-old who was officially registered as a gun owner,” he said. He said the victims were in the eighth year of school, which in Russia would make them around 14 or 15 years old.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which investigates major crimes, said in a statement it had opened a criminal case into the shooting and that the identity of the detained attacker had been established.

Reuters could not immediately contact a lawyer for the suspect, who was named in Russian media but whose identity was not officially disclosed, standard practice in Russia until a suspect has been formally charged.

Footage posted on social media showed a young man being pinned to the ground outside the school by police officers.

State TV later broadcast a separate video showing what it said was the suspect, a young man stripped to the waist and under restraint, being questioned by investigators. He could be heard saying that “a monster” had awoken in him, that he had realised that he was a god, and had begun to hate everyone.

The incident was Russia’s deadliest school shooting since 2018 when a student at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea killed 20 people before turning his gun on himself.

PUTIN ORDERS REVIEW OF GUN LAWS

A social media account called “God”, which Russian media said belonged to the suspect, was blocked by the Telegram messaging service citing its rules prohibiting what it described as “calls to violence”.

The account, created before the shooting, contained posts in which a young masked and bespectacled man described himself as a god and said he planned to kill a “huge number” of people and himself. Reuters could not independently confirm whether the account belonged to the detained suspect.

Minnikhanov, the regional leader, said 18 children were in hospital with a range of injuries, including gunshot wounds and broken and fractured bones. Three adults with gunshot wounds were also in hospital, he said, saying doctors were doing all they could to save the lives of those wounded.

Footage showed a corridor inside the school strewn with debris, including smashed glass and broken doors. Another still image showed a body on the floor of a blood-stained classroom.

Russia has strict restrictions on civilian firearm ownership, but some categories of guns are available for purchase for hunting, self-defense or sport, once would-be owners have passed tests and met other requirements.

President Vladimir Putin ordered the head of the national guard to draw up tighter gun regulations, the Kremlin said. The guards would urgently look into the status of weapons that can be registered for hunting in Russia but are considered assault weapons elsewhere.

The suspect had been issued a permit for a Hatsan Escort PS shotgun on April 28, Alexander Khinshtein, a lawmaker in the lower house of parliament, wrote on social media. He gave no further details and Reuters was not able to confirm this independently.

Kazan is the capital of the Muslim-majority region of Tatarstan and located around 450 miles (725 km) east of Moscow.

(Additional reporting by Maxim Rodionov, Dmitry Antonov, Polina Devitt and Maria VasilyevaWriting by Andrew Osborn and Tom BalmforthEditing by John Stonestreet and Peter Graff)

California school shooting shines light on murky ‘ghost gun’ world

By Brad Brooks

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – “Ghost guns” like the one a 16-year-old boy used to kill two classmates and injure three others at a California high school last week are self-assembled, virtually untraceable – and completely legal.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department confirmed that the .45-caliber pistol that Nathaniel Berhow used in the shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, on his 16th birthday was made from a kit. He then shot himself and died a day later in the hospital.

Such firearms have no serial numbers, and by making the gun themselves, owners can legally bypass background checks and registration regulations. That’s why they are known as “ghost guns.”

Kits can be purchased online or at gun shows, as long as the frames are not fully functional. But users can easily and cheaply machine and assemble them.

Police do not know how Berhow got his hands on the pistol he used, or who sold it and assembled it.

Kit guns represent what law enforcement and gun safety advocates call the next frontier of the fight to keep weapons away from potential criminals.

“Congress and state legislatures enact all these crimes about gun registration. But now the gun industry is creating a way to just bypass the entire thing,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told KABC TV on Thursday in confirming the weapon used in the high school shooting on Nov. 14.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not immediately reply to questions about whether it tracks how many such untraceable weapons it recovers.

MORE UNKNOWN

“More is unknown about ghost guns than known,” said Nick Suplina, managing director for law and policy at gun safety advocacy group Everytown.

“Law enforcement is increasingly having to familiarize themselves with them, but it’s not hit the public consciousness yet that there is a legal, untraceable firearm out there that can be ordered in parts online and assembled at home.”

Suplina, a former New York state prosecutor who has worked on cases involving such guns, said law enforcement agencies have no reporting requirements for ghost guns used in crimes.

But in the past decade they have gone from relatively complex and difficult weapons to put together to incredibly simple.

To stay within federal law, the frames or “receivers” of such guns can be sold 80% complete. The other components required to build a functioning firearm are often sold along with the frame and packaged as a kit.

Kit guns vary widely in prices, like fully assembled weapons, but the same models are generally the same price.

Also included are drill bits and jigs that allow the purchaser to easily mill the frame with a simple drill press that can cost less than $100.

In recent years, federal courts convicted several people for manufacturing untraceable weapons without a license.

“Criminal enterprises and gangs are seeing a real opportunity here to mass manufacture untraceable firearms and sell them at a premium,” Suplina said.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Austin, Texas; editing by Bill Tarrant and Gerry Doyle)

California police find no motive for school shooting

California police find no motive for school shooting By Steve Gorman SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (Reuters) - A 16-year-old student was carrying out a deliberate plan when he shot five teenagers at his California high school then turned the gun on himself, the local sheriff said on Friday, but authorities have no clues about what sparked the bloodshed. "We did not find any manifesto, any diary that spelled it out," Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a briefing. The gunman, whose identity has not been made public, survived the self-inflicted gunshot wound but was in grave condition in a hospital, Villanueva said. Two of the other five students who were shot in the Thursday morning attack died of their wounds. Detectives worked through the night to follow up on tips related to the shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 40 miles (65 km) north of Los Angeles. The shooting, which was caught on video, unfolded in 16 seconds, police said. Arriving at school on his 16th birthday, the suspect pulled a .45 semi-automatic pistol from his backpack in an outdoor courtyard, stood in one place and shot his victims in rapid succession before turning the gun and firing the last bullet into his head. Villanueva said authorities did not know the origin of the gun used, nor how the shooter got his hands on it. All Hart District schools in Santa Clarita were closed on Friday, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's office said on Twitter, out of respect for the victims and their families. Two girls aged 14 and 15 were being treated at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, California and were listed in good and fair condition, a hospital spokeswoman said early on Friday. At the Henry Mayo Hospital in Santa Clarita, authorities said a 14-year-old boy was treated and released. Two other students who had been taken there died. A hospital spokesman could not immediately be reached on Friday. Villanueva identified one of the students killed as Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15. He said the families of the other student killed and those wounded did not authorize him to release their names. The scene at Saugus High School was reminiscent of other mass shootings at U.S. schools, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student with an assault rifle killed 17 people on Feb. 14, 2018. It was the 85th incident of gunfire at a school this year, according to Everytown, a gun control advocacy group. (Reporting by Steve Gorman and Alan Devall in Santa Clarita; Additional reporting by Maria Caspani, Gabriella Borter and Barbara Goldberg in New York City, Brad Brooks in Austin, Texas, Dan Whitcomb in Culver City and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Writing by Daniel Trotta and Dan Whitcomb and additional reporting and writing by Rich McKay; Editing by Frances Kerry and Bill Berkrot)

California police find no motive for school shooting
By Steve Gorman

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (Reuters) – A 16-year-old student was carrying out a deliberate plan when he shot five teenagers at his California high school then turned the gun on himself, the local sheriff said on Friday, but authorities have no clues about what sparked the bloodshed.

“We did not find any manifesto, any diary that spelled it out,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a briefing.

The gunman, whose identity has not been made public, survived the self-inflicted gunshot wound but was in grave condition in a hospital, Villanueva said. Two of the other five students who were shot in the Thursday morning attack died of their wounds.

Detectives worked through the night to follow up on tips related to the shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 40 miles (65 km) north of Los Angeles. The shooting, which was caught on video, unfolded in 16 seconds, police said.

Arriving at school on his 16th birthday, the suspect pulled a .45 semi-automatic pistol from his backpack in an outdoor courtyard, stood in one place and shot his victims in rapid succession before turning the gun and firing the last bullet into his head.

Villanueva said authorities did not know the origin of the gun used, nor how the shooter got his hands on it.

All Hart District schools in Santa Clarita were closed on Friday, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s office said on Twitter, out of respect for the victims and their families.

Two girls aged 14 and 15 were being treated at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, California and were listed in good and fair condition, a hospital spokeswoman said early on Friday.

At the Henry Mayo Hospital in Santa Clarita, authorities said a 14-year-old boy was treated and released. Two other students who had been taken there died. A hospital spokesman could not immediately be reached on Friday.

Villanueva identified one of the students killed as Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15. He said the families of the other student killed and those wounded did not authorize him to release their names.

The scene at Saugus High School was reminiscent of other mass shootings at U.S. schools, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student with an assault rifle killed 17 people on Feb. 14, 2018.

It was the 85th incident of gunfire at a school this year, according to Everytown, a gun control advocacy group.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman and Alan Devall in Santa Clarita; Additional reporting by Maria Caspani, Gabriella Borter and Barbara Goldberg in New York City, Brad Brooks in Austin, Texas, Dan Whitcomb in Culver City and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Writing by Daniel Trotta and Dan Whitcomb and additional reporting and writing by Rich McKay; Editing by Frances Kerry and Bill Berkrot)

At least five wounded after shooting at California high school: officials

At least five  people were wounded after a shooter opened fire at a high school in Santa Clarita, California, a city north of Los Angeles, officials said.

A suspect described as a male Asian in black clothing was still at large, the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff said on Twitter.

“This is still a very active situation. Reports of approximately 5 victims being treated. Parents, deputies are on scene everywhere protecting your children,” the Santa Clarita Valley branch of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office tweeted.

Saugus High School and all schools in the William S. Hart district were placed on lockdown while authorities flooded the area.

Video from local NBC television showed a line of students walking away from the school and a row of police and fire department vehicles parked out front.

KTLA video, broadcast on CNN, showed one woman being loaded into an ambulance.

“Several injured. LASD resources on site and searching for suspect,” Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Undersheriff Tim Murakami said in a post on Twitter. “Will be locking down area schools. Advise residents to shelter in place and report any suspicious activity.”

(Reporting by Maria Caspani, Gabriella Borter and Barbara Goldberg in New York; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Bill Berkrot)

Colorado school officials consider razing site of Columbine massacre

FILE PHOTO: Students arrive for class at Columbine High School before participating in a National School Walkout to honor the 17 students and staff members killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in Littleton, Colorado, U.S., March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) – Public education officials in Colorado are considering a plan to tear down and rebuild Columbine High School, saying the site remains a “source of inspiration” for potential gun violence 20 years after a mass shooting there left 15 people dead.

The idea was floated on Thursday in an open letter from the superintendent of Jefferson County public schools, Jason Glass, to Columbine staff, students, parents and members of the surrounding Denver suburb of Littleton, Colorado.

The proposal calls for placing a bond measure seeking $60 million to $70 million on a future ballot to pay for demolition of the existing school and construction of a new school to replace it just west of the current site.

Under the superintendent’s plan, the new campus would still be called Columbine High School, “honoring the pride and spirit the community has with the name,” and its school mascot and colors would remain unchanged.

The county Board of Education and administration are “in the very preliminary and exploratory stages” of discussing such a plan, and are seeking public feedback on the proposal, Glass said.

He cited numerous instances in which actual or would-be perpetrators of violence expressed a fascination with Columbine, including an 18-year-old Florida woman who shot herself to death in April after she sparked an extensive manhunt by traveling to Colorado days before the 20th anniversary of the 1999 massacre.

‘SOURCE OF INSPIRATION’

In 2010, 29-year-old twin sisters from Australia, obsessed with the shooting, traveled to Colorado and shot themselves at a local gun range in a suicide pact. One of the women survived, and police found among their belongings a photocopy of a news magazine cover depicting the Columbine killers and their victims.

The Columbine site, Glass said, “continues to serve as a source of inspiration for potential school shooters, and its lasting impact only seems to be growing.”

Fifteen people were killed in the Columbine rampage, which at the time ranked as the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Two high school seniors shot and killed 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives in the bloodshed on April 20, 1999.

The now-retired principal of Columbine during the massacre, Frank DeAngelis, 64, said Glass had sought his opinion before going public with the demolition idea, and he thought it was a “good plan.”

“Twenty years ago, we never imagined that there would be people so infatuated with this tragedy years later,” DeAngelis said. “Maybe moving the physical plant would alleviate some of the issues.”

Aside from numerous threats and the hoaxes the school has received over the years, curiosity seekers would take pictures of their children in front of the school with the Columbine sign in the background.

“It became a tourist attraction,” he said.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Lisa Shumaker)