Authorities investigating the deadly shooting at a southern California high school this week say the weapon used in the tragedy may be a “ghost gun,” NBC News reports.
Two students died and three others were injured as a result of the attack on Thursday morning at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California.
The shooter has been identified as Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, who turned 16 on the day he opened fire.
Law enforcement sources told NBC News they are evaluating whether the weapon the shooter used was a so-called “ghost gun,” a gun made from untraceable parts that can be found online or produced using a 3-D printer.
Police say Berhow was able to fire multiple shots using the gun, despite the weapon initially malfunctioning.
He “seemed very familiar with firing the weapon,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told NBC News.
Berhow’s mother had dropped him off at school Thursday morning. He walked into the school’s quad area, took off his backpack and began firing. Reports of the shooting first emerged at 7:38 a.m.
Students had recently received active shooter training and “did exactly as they were trained” after Berhow started firing, according to Villanueva.
James Callahan, a school resource officer, said at a news conference that he was at the scene within minutes and began CPR on victims.
The deceased were identified as 16-year-old Gracie Muehlberger and 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell. Those injured include a 14-year-old girl who was released from the hospital on Thursday evening, as well as a 15-year-old girl who was still in the hospital on Friday.
Authorities believe the victims were shot at random.
Investigators say at least six guns were recovered from the shooter’s home and may have belonged to his late father.
Berhow’s parents divorced and were fighting over custody in 2016, according to court records. During that time, the father had been detained for a mental health evaluation, which prompted the removal of firearms from his home. He had previously been arrested during a domestic dispute.
An obituary indicates the father died of a heart attack in 2017.
No manifesto was found that might illuminate a motive for the attack. Students told NBC News that Berhow was quiet and smart, had not been bullied, and did not give any indication he might be violent.
Berhow had shot himself after the attack on Thursday. He died at a hospital on Friday.
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[Feature Photo: AP/Damian Dovarganes]