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California teacher talked to shooter, allowing students to flee


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"When your son does the right thing, you have to feel fantastic," said the teacher’s father, David Heber, who also lives in Taft.

He described his son as a "teacher who knows every single one of his students and not just by name."

At a glance

Reports of hit list probed in CA school shooting

Authorities are investigating allegations that a 16-year-old boy held in a classroom shooting that wounded a classmate had been suspended from school last year for having a hit list.

Kern County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ray Pruitt says the reports of the hit list are being looked into as part of the investigation into Thursday’s shooting at Taft Union High School in the city of Taft.

Almost immediately after the shooting, other students began giving accounts about the suspect having drawn up a list at some point.

The sheriff’s spokesman says the teen was booked into juvenile hall for investigation of two counts of attempted murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. Investigators plan to submit their case to the district attorney’s office on Monday.

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He said his son had been teaching science to different grade levels for seven or eight years. The younger Heber was student body president when he went to Taft, his father said.

Heber couldn’t remember any other time when a confrontation turned so violent. "I don’t think he’s ever been in a fight in his life. He can always talk himself out of it."

Youngblood said that the suspect would be charged with attempted murder. The district attorney will decide whether he’s charged as an adult, Youngblood said.

Authorities said a female student was hospitalized with possible hearing damage because the shotgun was fired close to her ear, and another girl suffered minor injuries during the scramble to flee.

Wilhelmina Reum, whose daughter, Alexis Singleton, is a fourth-grader at a nearby elementary school, got word of the attack while she was about 35 miles away in Bakersfield and immediately sped back to Taft.

"I just kept thinking this can’t be happening in my little town," she told The Associated Press.

Officials said there’s usually an armed officer on campus, but the person wasn’t there because he was snowed in.

The attack there came less than a month after a gunman massacred 20 children and six women at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., then killed himself.


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That shooting prompted President Barack Obama to promise new efforts to curb gun violence. Vice President Joe Biden, who was placed in charge of the initiative, said he would deliver new policy proposals to the president by next week.

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Associated Press writers Robert Jablon and John Antczak in Los Angeles, and Juliet Williams in Sacramento contributed to this report.



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