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Teacher Talks Shooter into Surrender

January 12, 2013

At Taft Union high school, quoted from Salon:

A student opened fire in a classroom of 28 students.

According to reports, the male student — who at 16 is a juvenile and thus can’t be named by authorities — carried a 12-gauge shotgun and had pockets full of rounds. He injured one student with a shot aimed at another, but missed. Then the class’ teacher, Ryan Heber squared off with the student.

“I don’t want to shoot you,” he told the popular teacher, who was trying to “coax the teen into giving up the shotgun he still held.” Heber was joined by campus supervisor Kim Lee Fields who aided in convincing the student to surrender. Heber’s head had been slightly grazed by a stray pellet.

“This teacher and this counselor stood there face-to-face not knowing if he was going to shoot them,” County sheriff Donny Youngblood told press. “They probably expected the worst and hoped for the best, but they gave the students a chance to escape.”

The injured student was airlifted to hospital and is in a stable but critical condition. The former high school football player will receive surgery today.

According to reports, the 16-year-old shooter had felt bullied by his victim. “Certainly he believed the two people that he targeted had bullied him, in his mind,” Youngblood said.

There is usually an armed Taft Police Department officer on campus, but he was not there Thursday because he had been snowed in.  (continued here)

  1. Frank Caesar Branchini permalink
    January 12, 2013 12:15 pm

    When I was in school teachers and students did not have to have a plan for what to do if someone came in and started shooting people. The teachers who are putting their lives on the line to protect their students are heroes. It is a sad day for America that this is necessary.

  2. January 12, 2013 1:41 pm

    Indeed. I also say: why aren’t those two teachers in the headlines as heroes. Teachers always have been, in so many other ways.

  3. SFreader permalink
    January 14, 2013 4:16 pm

    Read the Salon article — the shooter’s friend said that although he regularly ‘joked’ that he’d kill/skin/eat their puppies, she didn’t think that this was alarming. When did such language/sentiments become so commonplace among teens that they filter them out as normal chitchat?

    • January 15, 2013 4:06 pm

      Actually, “kill the puppy” is a decades-old phrase I hear even teachers using. Not my language, but that’s how some people talk.

      I don’t care for such language, but having raised two kids I know how they go through stages. Remember Romeo and Juliet–young people experience extremes of emotion, and have to express it. Surviving puberty is an ancient challenge. Imagine how many more bodies would be left on the stage if Shakespeare’s characters had machine guns.

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