California high school shooter, 16, dies in hospital a day after attack

A 16-year-old boy who shot two classmates dead on his birthday before turning his gun on himself has died in hospital.

Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow wounded three others as he opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday.

Investigators were unable to discover a motive for the attack before the gunman died from a head wound yesterday.

Friends described Berhow as quiet but funny and likeable and said he showed no outward signs of violence before his rampage.

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said the boy’s mother was with him when he died.

After more than 40 interviews, police still do not know what prompted him to commit such a crime, said Captain Kent Wegener of the department’s homicide unit.

He said no manifesto, diary or suicide note had been found.

Berhow opened fire at about 7.30am after being dropped off at his school in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita.

Video surveillance showed him walking alone to the centre of a courtyard before dropping his backpack, pulling out a gun and firing.

At a press conference Sheriff Alex Villanueva  said Berhow ‘cleared a malfunction’ with the firearm and kept on shooting.

He said the attacker counted his rounds – firing about six shots before using the last bullet on himself.

The attack only lasted for 16 seconds and the targets are believed to have been chosen at random.

Mr Villanueva said the conclusion that the attack was planned was based on Berhow bringing the weapon, ably handling it and keeping track of the rounds fired.

Three off-duty law enforcement officers were first on the scene and treated some of the wounded until paramedics arrived.

The dead were identified as 15-year-old Gracie Anne Muehlberger and 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell.

In a statement, Bryan and Cindy Muehlberger said they shared the news of their daughter’s death with ‘unexplainable brokenness.’

They described her as their ‘Cinderella, the daughter we always dreamed to have,’ and said her two brothers were heartbroken.

The pair added: ‘She will never get to drive a car, fall in love, build a career, get married, have children and do all the other things everyone takes for granted in this short thing called life.’

Two girls wounded in the attack, aged 14 and 15, were shot in the torso and should be released from the hospital over the weekend, doctors said Friday. A 14-year-old boy was treated and released.

Berhow was described as a quiet and smart child who was a Boy Scout and had previously run track for his school.

Mr Villanueva added: ‘You have the image of a loner, someone who is socially awkward, doesn’t get along, some violent tendencies, dark brooding and online strange postings – stuff like that.’

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