Santa Clarita school shooting: Saugus students describe chaotic scene on campus as gunman opens fire

KABC logo
Friday, November 15, 2019
Saugus High student says gunfire was initially mistaken for balloon popping
Saugus High School sophomore Brooklyn Moreno was in the quad when the first shot rang out Thursday morning.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- A group of students at Saugus High School initially thought a loud noise that rang out on campus Thursday morning was simply a balloon popping. But they quickly learned the sound was actually gunfire.

The first bell of the day had not rung yet when teens were forced to run for their lives as a 16-year-old male student opened fire at the Santa Clarita school where he allegedly shot five classmates, including two fatally, before turning the gun on himself.

"We heard the first gunshot, and we all thought it was a balloon popping, but it was too loud for a balloon to pop," sophomore Brooklyn Moreno said. "Then it went 1, 2 and we all just started running and people were falling in front of me, and I ran across the street to someone's house and stayed there till my parents picked me up."

Moreno said it was difficult to determine where the bullets had originated.

"(The sound of gunfire) felt like towards me in the quad, but I heard it was somewhere else towards the choir room, but I have no clue," she said.

Student Alexa Funk also said the first gunshot was mistaken for a balloon popping.

"I heard the second and third (gunshot) and then I knew it was gunfire," Funk said.

Funk described the chaotic scene as a "very scary moment" as children tried to hide.

"There were kids running everywhere," she said. "I saw people falling to the floor. I also fell and got a little thing on my knee."

Funk added that she ran to an office, where she and other students "hid and stayed quiet."

1 of 34
Students and family members walk after being reunited at a park near Saugus High School after a shooting at the school left two students dead and three wounded on Nov. 14, 2019.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Dozens of children scrambled as other students arrived on campus.

"I was in shock, I didn't even process it yet. I just started running 'cause I started seeing people run. Once I started running out of the gate I was just like, 'Oh my goodness, this is actually happening.' Never thought this would happen to my school," Moreno said.

A stampede reportedly erupted as students ran from the school.

"There was girls falling in front of me. I was trying to help them up, and then I just kept running because I didn't wanna get hurt either," she said.

Some rushed to a nearby home, where a resident let students shelter.

"We were all just staying there, a lot of us left our phones at school 'cause we dropped everything. So we were given water and we were waiting for our parents to come pick me up and we were getting phone calls," Moreno said.

Sophomore Adam Eichensehr said he received a text message from his friends who told him not to go to school after they heard gunshots.

"At first I didn't believe it, 'cause I just thought maybe a generator blew up or something, 'cause you would never think this would happen," he said. "Then I saw cops, and so I stopped and I called my mom and she told me to come straight home. All my friends I've come in contact with are OK as of now."

'You would never think this would happen': Saugus High student recounts shooting

A sophomore at Saugus High School said he was walking to school Thursday morning when he heard of the shooting, which he said was unimaginable.

A hospital spokesperson said a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl were pronounced dead, two female patients and a male were also injured. Their name of the deceased victims were not immediately released.

Authorities said at a press conference that the suspected shooter was in critical condition after sustaining a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

A motive has not been determined.