Sen. Barbara Boxer issues statement to Obama regarding heroic acts of staff during Taft shooting

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Senator Barbara Boxer released a statement Tuesday morning to President Obama regarding the heroism of the staff and faculty of Taft Union High School during the shooting on Jan. 10.

The shooting occurred about 9 a.m. at TUHS, an oil and agricultural community about 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The shooting took place in the Science Building at the school.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood said that during a conference at 12:30 just outside of Taft High School that teachers distracted the 16-year-old shooter so that other students could escape the room.

Youngblood said that the teen told the teacher that he didn't want to shoot him and that he was wanting to shoot someone else. The teacher and a campus supervisor was able to talk to the student and persuaded him to drop the weapon.

Boxer said:

Mr. President, today I ask my colleagues to join me in saluting and commending Ryan Heber, Kim Fields and Mary Murphy, three educators who risked their lives to protect students in Taft, CA.

On Thursday, January 10--less than 4 weeks after the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School--a student armed with a shotgun opened fire in a classroom at Taft Union High School and wounded two of his classmates. Today, one student remains hospitalized, recovering from his injuries.

This was a tragic attack, and it is terrifying to think that it could have been even worse had it not been for the brave, swift actions of Taft science teacher Ryan Heber and campus supervisors Kim Fields and Mary Murphy.

When the shooting started, Mr. Heber responded immediately. After ushering his other students out of harm's way, he began talking the shooter into ceasing his attack. Mr. Fields, who rushed to the classroom when he heard gunfire, joined Mr. Heber in persuading the attacker to put down his gun and surrender to police when they arrived on the scene. Meanwhile, Ms. Murphy stayed calm and made sure that students quickly and safely evacuated the classroom.

Like their teacher and supervisors, the students at Taft were also very brave. They stayed calm and followed school safety measures. I commend these young people and the first responders who swiftly responded to the call for help.

The students, faculty, and staff deserve our support in the days and years ahead, and they deserve our action to help curb gun violence and ensure safety at our schools in Taft and across the country.

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