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Calif. school shooter was bullied, classmates confirm; critically wounded teen ID'd

Law enforcement at Taft Union High School after a shooting there on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in Taft., Calif.
KBAK
(CBS) TAFT, Calif. - Students at Taft Union High School in Southern California say their classmate accused of shooting two people at the school Thursday was bullied, according to multiple reports.

The one person seriously injured in the attack has been identified as Bowe Cleveland, reportedly an 11th grader and athlete who some say took part in the bullying.

According to Taft police, the 16-year-old shooter, who authorities have not named because he's a juvenile, entered the campus about 30 miles west of Bakersfield and went to his first period science class where the attack unfolded.

Neighbors and students who know the suspect describe him as smart, but a person who would often be subjected to bullying, CBS affiliate KBAK reported.

"He's very intelligent, and maybe this will show others that it's not a good thing to bully others," said one unnamed neighbor.

"He was a good student. He would answer a lot of questions in class. He was really quiet," said a former student, who was in the suspect's French class two years ago.

Another told KBAK, "He always drew pictures of killing and people having guns and knives, and he always talked about how he was going to bomb the oil fields."

Asked if she ever reported those drawings to school officials, the student said she didn't take it seriously at the time.

"Never saw that coming," she said.

On Wednesday night the teen went home and plotted revenge against two students, Kern County Sheriff Danny Youngblood said. He found a gun that authorities believe belonged to the suspect's older brother and went to bed that night plotting revenge against two students.

Youngblood said the suspect's claims of being bullied are being investigated.

The sheriff's office said Friday morning that the alleged shooter has been booked into juvenile hall. It will hand the case over to the District Attorney's office Monday and recommend two counts of attempted murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.

Shooting victim Bowe Cleveland was shot at close range in the chest, CBS Los Angeles reported, and was airlifted to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield for treatment. He is listed in critical, but stable condition, officials said.

"I think he is going to make it, but he has more operations to undergo, but he is responding to our resuscitative efforts and I think we're going to be able to pull him through this," Dr. Ruby Skinner at Kern told CBS Los Angeles.

The violence came just minutes after Taft school administrators had announced new lockdown safety procedures prompted by the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.

"Just 10 minutes before it happened our teachers were giving us protocol because of what happened in Connecticut," said student Oscar Nuno, who was across campus from the science building when an announcer on the speaker system said the school was under lockdown "and it was not a drill."

Complete coverage of the Taft, Calif. school shooting on Crimesider

  • Barry Leibowitz

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