Stunned classmates and neighbors of the teen boy suspected of killing two students and injuring three others in a mass shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita say Nathaniel Berhow did not show any signs that he was capable of such violence.
Berhow, who turned 16 on Thursday, is reportedly in grave condition from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. According to a Los Angeles Times report, authorities did not know initially that the suspected gunman was among the injured students, leading to a massive manhunt Thursday morning after Berhow allegedly shot five students before turning the gun on himself just before 8 a.m. on the school campus.
Sources who knew Berhow described him to the Los Angeles Times as a hardworking student and a Boy Scout who was quiet and got along well with others, but he may have been suffering from trauma from his father’s death in December 2017.
“He would have fun with the team and was a good kid,” Aidan, a sophomore at the high school, told the Los Angeles Times.
“The younger Scouts really looked up to him. He was there when they needed him with anything. I’m bewildered and looking for answers.”
— New York Post (@nypost) November 15, 2019
According to multiple reports, Nathaniel’s father Mark Berhow struggled with alcoholism and pleaded no contest twice to DUI charges. KTLA and the New York Post report that the elder Berhow was a recreational hunter.
“His dad – I know he used to make bullets, so I’m assuming he had guns and stuff like that,” Ryan McCracken, a former childhood friend of the suspect, told KTLA.
Jared Axen, a neighbor of the Berhow family, told the Los Angeles Times that Nathaniel struggled with the loss of his father. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office told the New York Post that Mark Berhow died of a heart attack but that chronic alcoholism contributed to his death.
Axen told KTLA he believed Nathaniel was “the one who had found his father’s body inside the house.”
After his father’s death, Nathaniel “would tell me that he missed his father and that he loved him,” Axen told the Los Angeles Times.
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