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What we know about the California school shooting suspect

Investigation of deadly school shooting

People who knew the 16-year-old boy suspected of killing two students in a burst of gunfire at a high school outside Los Angeles described him as a quiet, smart kid who they'd never expect to turn violent. Police didn't identify the gunman other than describing him as Asian; law enforcement sources told CBS News the suspected shooter has been identified as Nathaniel Berhow.

The shooting that killed two teenagers and wounded three others at Saugus High School in a Los Angeles suburb took just 16 seconds and left the attacker hospitalized in critical condition with a head wound, authorities said. One of the wounded students was treated and released Thursday afternoon. 

Los Angeles County officials released the names of both of the deceased victims Friday: Gracie Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14. 

Police are still searching for a motive and said the suspect did not leave behind a diary or manifesto. 

A 15-year-old girl who was shot in the hip and a 14-year-old girl shot in her shoulder and lower abdomen remained hospitalized, but were in good spirits and expected to make full recoveries, trauma surgeons at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center said Friday.

Video showed the last thing the assailant did was shoot himself with the final bullet in the .45-caliber handgun, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Captain Kent Wegener said. The weapon was empty when it was recovered.

Facebook determined that an Instagram account with a bio that read, "Saugus, have fun at school tomorrow," did not belong to the suspect, police said in a news conference Friday.

nathaniel-berhow.jpg
Nathaniel Berhow

One fellow junior at Saugus High School said the suspect is a Boy Scout who she relied on to study for advanced placement European history. A student in his physics class said he seemed like "one of those normal kids." A next-door neighbor who grew up with him said he kept to himself but was never threatening.

The attacker shot five students, seemingly at random, and then shot himself in the head around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, his 16th birthday, authorities said. Two students died, and the gunman was gravely wounded.

Police said his home was searched after the shooting, and The Associated Press interviewed three of the suspect's friends.

The boy lived with his mother in a modest home on a leafy street in Santa Clarita, a Los Angeles suburb of about 210,000 people known for good schools, safe streets and relatively affordable housing.

His father died two years ago. Two years before that, the father had been arrested amid a domestic dispute with the boy's mother.

"A quiet, to-himself kid," said Ryan McCracken, a 20-year-old next-door neighbor. When McCracken was younger, he said they played together, sometimes in boy's backyard treehouse. "You wouldn't expect anything like that from him."

Police said they had yet to determine a motive and any relationship between the gunman and the victims. Authorities said they have no indication the boy was acting on behalf of any group or ideology.

California school shooting witness describes seeing "a body fall"

Brooke Risley, a junior at Saugus High, said she had known the boy since elementary school and saw him Wednesday in engineering class. Last year, they were paired on engineering projects and sometimes he came to her house.

She couldn't recall anything indicating he might be violent. The closest she could get was a keychain he had with a hollow bullet.

Risley described the boy as somewhat introverted, though open with his close friends, and "naturally smart." She said he wasn't bullied, had a girlfriend and had been an active member of a local Boy Scout troop.

Results posted online from school track meets last spring show the boy was an unexceptional middle- and long-distance runner. His GPA landed him on the honor roll in the fall of eighth grade, according to online school records.

Joe Fitzpatrick, a senior who helped the teacher in the boy's physics class, called him a "good, quiet kid" who didn't miss assignments and did well on tests. "He just seemed like one of those regular kids," Fitzpatrick said.

The boy's father died two years ago, according to an online obituary, which said he worked for a health care company for 33 years as a field service engineer and "loved big game hunting and fishing of all kinds."

According to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department records published in a local newspaper, his father was arrested in June 2015 on suspicion of attempted battery on his wife. It's unclear how the case was resolved.

David Begnaud contributed to this report.

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