We know that at approximately 7:40 am local time at Saugus High School, Santa Clarita California, a student open fired on his classmates.
We know that the student, who turned 16 that morning, brought a .45 caliber handgun in his backpack to the school where he pulled it and fired at five other students, killing two and injuring three, before putting the final round into his own head. Last reported, the teen was on life support, possibly until his organs could be harvested as a registered donor. That report seems to indicate the self inflicted wound was catastrophic.
We know the attack lasted a total of 16 seconds.
What we don’t know…
We don’t know why.
We can speculate on several probable motives. The obvious one is bullying, but quite simply we do not know. Any number of factors could have motivated the teen to so violently put his suicide on display and take school mates with him. This was a statement, but for what purpose? It was a murder suicide and was pretty clearly intended to be from the offset, not a suicide of convenience at the end of an attack or killed in a gun battle.
If the students killed and injured were deliberate targets, which as of now they do not appear to be, this could be a statement against a specific bully or a response to a specific perceived offense. If the five students shot were just the closest this is much more likely a general statement of anguish against the high school, or maybe the high school was just the medium of outlet.
But ultimately, again and still, we do not know. The complicated emotive and rationale process the sixteen year old went through is ultimately only known to him, and he is in critical condition from the self inflicted GSW to the head.
It’s a long series of questions that may remain forever unanswered. Why? Did someone say something to him? Did he watch something? Was it social media? Was it his classmates? Was it teachers or the school in general? Was it depression? Was it medication? Was it any of these at all? Was it mom or his deceased father? Was it…?
The one who knows doesn’t look likely to live… and sadly violence rarely requires a rational motivation. It doesn’t require logical reasoning. It just requires ‘a’ motive, not a ‘good’ motive or an ‘understandable’ one.