The Saugus Shooting


Ryan Curtis, Writer

On Thursday morning, November 14 2019, before classes, two students were killed, and three students were injured in a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita.

The suspect was apprehended after an hour long search, once the police realized that the shooter was one of the students shot, he was apprehended. The 16-year-old teenage boy was being treated for a self afflicted gunshot wound to the head, he did not make it. The shooting only lasted 16 seconds.

Two victims, Grace Anne Muehlberger, 15 and Dominic Blackwell, 14 died at the hospital. The other three injured students are in safe condition and have been discharged from the hospital. The shooter passed at about 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

The suspected shooter who started shooting in the quad at Saugus High School has been identified as Nathaniel Berhow. He is a half Japanese student with access and proficiency in firearms, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Nathaniel’s father, Mark Berhow, was an avid hunter. He hunted elk, and his son would sometimes tag along, neighbor Jared Axen, 33, a registered nurse, told the Times. The alleged shooter’s father died from a heart attack in December 2017.

This afternoon, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a press conference that the origin of the gun is unclear. The gunman’s late father owned six guns, and they all have been accounted for; the .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol that was used in the shooting was not a part of those six firearms.

As of now, there has been no motivation found or any notes/manifestos aside from a possible Instagram post, but this is still unclear as Instagram states that the account wasn’t owned by the shooter. The post is still under investigation because the original post was changed after the shooting occurred, and Berhow was in custody at the hospital at the time.

At the same time in Pasadena, a 9-year-old brought a bb-gun to school and shot 3 students, the students are uninjured. The shooting happened at 7:30, moments before the Saugus shooting.

A BB-gun shooting to most people means nothing, but for Norco, it has its significance. On March 13, 2001, Travis Ritchie, a 9-year-old boy was shot and killed by a pellet rifle. A Norco High student was firing a pellet rifle at some cans in his backyard. Ritchie was over playfully running behind the table that the cans were stacked on. By accident, the Norco High student hit Ritchie. The BB entered through his ribcage under his arm and killed him. The wound was not bleeding when his parents inspected it, so they thought little of it. When Ritchie’s pain did not subside, his parents decided to take him to the ER. Unfortunately, he passed at the hospital because the BB had punctured his heart.

In Santa Clarita, Sheriff Alex Villanueva praised the active shooting drills the school has done at Saugus High, because the students did what they were trained to do, run and get to a locked room and stay there.

Lockdown drills are important. It is unfortunate that we live in a time where they have to be so common and wide spread, but they help protect students. The drills teach students what they have to do: run and seek shelter in a nearby classroom. They aren’t taken as seriously as they should be because in the case of a real emergency, people won’t be able to take the situation with a light tone.

School security is a high priority here at Norco High. Some students say that the ID system we have at this school wouldn’t do much in a real scenario, and if the shooter is a student, the ID would do nothing. The purpose of wearing the ID is to identify non students or trespassers quickly and to confront them before the individual enters the campus. If a student were to commit the shooting, the ID would help identify the shooter quicker, or possibly single out the student before the shooting happens because they do not have their ID visible.

Please support Saugus in this difficult time.