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School counselors fan out after Highland High shooting

OW Staff Writer | 5/18/2018, midnight
Students returning to class this week at Highland High School in Palmdale—the site of..

Students returning to class this week at Highland High School in Palmdale—the site of a shooting that left a 15-year-old boy wounded May 11—were greeted by a host of support personnel, from school counselors to psychologists to sheriff’s deputies.

A 14-year-old former student was charged this week with attempted murder and other counts.

The 7 a.m. shooting on the campus in the 39000 block of 25th Street West was initially attributed to an active shooter, prompting a massive law-enforcement response.

A Highland High School student told KNX Newsradio that he saw the suspect emerge from a rest room with a rifle-type weapon, which he randomly pointed at people. The student said the suspect looked at him and told him to run, which he did, shouting at other students to do the same.

The suspect then fired about 10 rounds and later told his father that he had fired into the air, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Jim McDonnell.

A man told KNX that his wife was dropping their daughter off at the school when the wounded 15-year-old boy ran up to her car, shouting, "He shot me! He shot me! I don’t know why he shot me!’’ The woman told the boy to get into her car and she drove him to a nearby hospital, the parent said, adding that his wife was interviewed by sheriff’s deputies and was told the “boy is going to be fine.’’

There was no immediate word on a motive, though Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Darren Harris said that deputies believe the suspect was acting alone.

The 14-year-old suspect was taken into custody at a Vons grocery store about a mile from the campus. There were no reports of any other injuries.

In the aftermath of the shooting, authorities identified two potential threats on social media. One targeted Highland High specifically. “Detectives from the school unit have ... located the individual who posted this message,’’ said Lancaster Sheriff’s Station spokeswoman Ali Villalobos. “While the individual claims this is only a rumor, detectives are investigating every lead thoroughly. The investigation is still ongoing.’’

The second potential threat was a social-media post relating to a February incident. That threat was deemed not credible.

“We continue to work hand in hand with our community to ensure we provide the safest learning environment for all of our students,’’ Villalobos said. “Our station takes every single threat, comment and/or ‘rumor’ seriously and will investigate each one thoroughly.’’