1 student shot at high school in Taft, Calif. - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

1 student shot at high school in Taft, Calif.

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This image provided by the Taft Midway Driller/Doug Keeler shows officials taping off an area outside San Joaquin Valley high school in Taft, Calif., Thursday Jan. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Taft Midway Driller, Doug Keeler) This image provided by the Taft Midway Driller/Doug Keeler shows officials taping off an area outside San Joaquin Valley high school in Taft, Calif., Thursday Jan. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Taft Midway Driller, Doug Keeler)
Map locates a shooting in Taft Calif., where at least two are shot near a high school. Map locates a shooting in Taft Calif., where at least two are shot near a high school.

TAFT, Calif. (AP) — People who know a student suspected of opening fire with a shotgun in a high school classroom in Taft, Calif., say he's a loner often teased by classmates.

Authorities haven't released the name of the suspect in Thursday's wounding of a 16-year-old boy at Taft Union High School.

But people in the small San Joaquin Valley town who know his identity say he was teased for his small stature.

They describe him as smart but say he sometimes said irreverent things that brought scorn from classmates.

Neighbor Trish Montes says her son used to work at the school and tutored the student last year. She says her son felt sorry for him and would sometimes walk with him between classes.

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For an earlier version, read below.

 

TAFT, Calif. (AP) — A student was shot and wounded at a rural California high school Thursday and another student suspect was taken into custody, officials said.

The shooting occurred about 9 a.m. at Taft Union High School, a community of fewer than 10,000 people amid oil and natural gas production fields about 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

A shotgun was used in the attack, officials said.

As word spread, Dayna Hopper rushed to the school to pick up her son Joseph Sorensen, 16, and daughter, Cheryle Pryor, 15, who had called from Cheryle's cell phone.

"I panicked. I wanted to puke and just get here," Dayna Hopper told The Bakersfield Californian.

KERO-TV Bakersfield reported that the station received phone calls from people inside the school who hid in closets.

The bell had just rung at a nearby school when teachers began shouting for students to get inside buildings, and the principal used an intercom to tell students to stay inside, Felicity Reich, 13, a student at Lincoln Junior High School, told the newspaper.

Shaken, she held the hand of her mother, Ellie Reich, as she spoke.

The student who was shot at the high school was flown to a hospital in Bakersfield, said Ray Pruitt, spokesman for the Kern County Sheriff's Department. There was no immediate word on the victim's condition.

Another person suffered some type of injuries in the incident but refused medical attention, Kern County Fire Department Eric Coughran told KBAK-TV.

It was not immediately clear how many students are enrolled at the high school, which includes 9th through 12th grades.

Masses of parents headed to the school football field to find their children, and officials at other schools took action to protect their students as well, the newspaper said.

The Taft shooting 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.

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.

At the state Capitol, Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, said the thoughts and prayers of legislators were with the people at the Taft school.

"It really is just another very sad moment as we deal with the ongoing reality of gun violence that has captured so much of our attention this last year," Perez said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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