Teacher Saves Injured Girl During School Shooting While Hiding 40 Other Students

ABC News

One of the five students struck by a shooter at Saugus High School on Thursday is on the road to recovery, her family reports, though residents of Santa Clarita, California, are still reeling from the shocking attack. The student, identified as Addison, is one of three teen survivors who were hit with gunfire, which erupted around 7:30 a.m. when suspected shooter Nathaniel Berhow, 16, entered the school campus and fired upon five classmates before shooting himself.

  • The massacre happened Thursday, which was later revealed to be Berhow's 16th birthday.

    The teen entered the quad and pulled a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol from his bag, unloading an entire magazine in the violent attack, according to ABC News.

    "From the time that he withdrew the handgun from his backpack to the time that he was on the ground with a gunshot wound to his head was about 16 seconds," Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a press conference Thursday night.

    Hours after the incident, two of the five victims -- a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy -- died from their injuries at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. On Friday, the deceased female victim was officially identified as Gracie Anne Muehlberger, the Los Angeles Times reported.

  • Advertisement
  • In addition to Addision, two other teens were hit, but they are expected to survive.

    One of them, an unidentified 14-year-old boy, has already been discharged. The other, a 15-year-old teen girl, was hit below the belly button and has a bullet lodged in her hip. Addision, meanwhile, is recovering from bullet wounds to the abdomen and shoulder. Both girls remain hospitalized at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.

    Meanwhile, Berhow is being treated for a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head and remains in the hospital in critical condition.

  • Choir teacher Kaitlin Holt is credited with caring for Addison after the teen was rushed into her classroom by other students.

    Speaking with Good Morning America on Friday, Holt seemed to be both shocked and furious at the senseless tragedy. The choir teacher said she used a piano to barricade her door, but after Addison was brought over, she let her into the classroom and administered first aid to her wounds before calling 911.

    "I'm not typically a calm person," Holt said, "but in that situation, for my students, I think that kind of kicks in.

    "I should have never had to treat a gunshot wound as a choir teacher," she added. "And there's something really wrong and something has to change, 'cause I held a bleeding child today in a room with 40 sobbing children."

    As Holt was tending to Addison's abdomen wound, the teen mentioned that she had also been struck in the shoulder. 

    “I used what I could to dress her other wound and she was responsive, she was joking around a little bit," Holt told Fox 10. "She was really strong."

  • Meanwhile, students across the campus were panicked while trying to flee to safety.

    One female student, who was not a victim of the gunfire, even texted her parents a heartbreaking goodbye message, according to the Daily Mail.

    "Hey mom, I don't know what's going on here at school but I love you and am so thankful for everything you've done for me," the text read. "I love you so much."

    Another female student wrote a similarly upsetting farewell: "We just heard gunshots," she reportedly wrote. "If anything happens. Please know that I love you."

  • Berhow's motives remain unclear, though neighbors claim the teen was still hurting after the death of his father, and students said he was antisocial.

    According to authorities, Berhow acted alone, did not seem to target any specific students during the attack, and was not affiliated with any groups or ideologies. He was described as introverted. He is also believed to have had a girlfriend and was even a Boy Scout, the BBC reported.

    "He wasn't chasing anyone," Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during a press conference. "[The victims] appeared to be who was around him, available at the time."

  • Dr. Boris Borazjani, a trauma surgeon at Providence Holy Cross, praised the two teen girls who "held their composure despite being shot."

    "I'm very proud," he said, according to GMA.

    Addison's aunt, who was not identified by name but is also a teacher Saugus High School, told GMA that she had already evacuated the building when she heard the news about her niece. It was her husband who texted her to say Addison was among the victims. 

    Now, a day after the violence rocked the school campus, Addison's aunt is happy to report her progress.

    "She's doing well and she's stable," the aunt said. "And so she's going to be okay."

  • On Friday, the sheriff lamented that Saugus is yet another addition to the growing list of schools affected by mass shootings.

    "I hate to have Saugus be added to the names of Columbine, Parkland, Sandy Hook, but it's a reality that affects us all throughout the nation, something we're going to have to deal with," Villanueva said.

    Schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District were closed Friday as an investigation continues. Deputy School Superintendent Mike Kuhlman issued a statement that the district was "in the process of formulating a plan to care for our school and our community -- and will continue sharing updates as we learn more -- including the plan for the days ahead.

    "Our hearts go out to the families of those affected by this terrible incident," he added. "Words are insufficient in times such as these." 

gun violence