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Calif. teacher talked to shooter so students fled
“All I ever heard about him was good things from my son,” Montes said. “He wasn’t Mr. Popularity, but he was a smart kid. It’s a shame. My kid said he was like a genius.”
On Wednesday night the teen went home and plotted revenge against two students, Youngblood said. He found a gun that authorities believe belonged to the suspect’s older brother and went to bed that night plotting revenge against two students.
“He planned the event,” Youngblood said. “Certainly he believed that the two people he targeted had bullied him, in his mind. Whether that occurred or not, we don’t know yet.”
The suspect arrived after 9 a.m. Thursday, and video surveillance cameras captured him looking nervous as he entered through a side door, Youngblood said. He made his way to the second floor of the school’s science building, where Heber’s class with 28 students inside was under way.
The suspect walked in a door close to the front of the classroom and shot his classmate. When the shots were fired, Heber tried to get the more than two dozen students out a back door and engaged the shooter in conversation to distract him, Youngblood said.
“The heroics of these two people goes without saying. … They could have just as easily … tried to get out of the classroom and left students, and they didn’t,” the sheriff said. “They knew not to let him leave the classroom with that shotgun.”
“When your son does the right thing, you have to feel fantastic,” said the teacher’s father, David Heber, who also lives in Taft.
He described his son as a “teacher who knows every single one of his students and not just by name.”
He said his son had been teaching science to different grade levels for seven or eight years. The younger Heber was student body president when he went to Taft, his father said.
Heber couldn’t remember any other time when a confrontation turned so violent. “I don’t think he’s ever been in a fight in his life. He can always talk himself out of it.”
Authorities said a female student was hospitalized with possible hearing damage because the shotgun was fired close to her ear, and another girl suffered minor injuries during the scramble to flee.
Wilhelmina Reum, whose daughter, Alexis Singleton, is a fourth-grader at a nearby elementary school, got word of the attack while she was about 35 miles away in Bakersfield and immediately sped back to Taft.
“I just kept thinking this can’t be happening in my little town,” she told The Associated Press.
Officials said there’s usually an armed officer on campus, but the person wasn’t there because he was snowed in.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
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