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US Santa Clarita shooting: Weapon used in Saugus High attack a 'ghost gun,' sheriff says

23:20  21 november  2019
23:20  21 november  2019 Source:   latimes.com

Santa Clarita students made an active shooter video. Two months later, they took shelter in fear

  Santa Clarita students made an active shooter video. Two months later, they took shelter in fear A shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita Thursday morning is raising questions about school security measures.“We were just preparing for the worst, but we never thought anything would occur in a suburb like Santa Clarita. It’s such a lovely place,” Mims told USA TODAY in a phone interview.

The gun used in last week's shooting at Saugus High School was assembled from parts, a so-called ghost gun without a registration number, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed Thursday.

a person holding a sign: Santa Clarita, CA / November 18, 2019 -- Kim Segal, 43, Santa Clarita brings her kids D. Segal and R.Segal to view and say a prayer at memorial set up at Saugus High School on November 18, 2019. © Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times/TNS Santa Clarita, CA / November 18, 2019 -- Kim Segal, 43, Santa Clarita brings her kids D. Segal and R.Segal to view and say a prayer at memorial set up at Saugus High School on November 18, 2019.

Sheriff's homicide detectives are trying to determine who built the .45-caliber handgun, a 1911-model pistol. The weapon included a partially built receiver, meaning it did not contain a serial number.

Off-duty officers were the first responders to the California high school shooting — because they were dropping off their own family members for school

  Off-duty officers were the first responders to the California high school shooting — because they were dropping off their own family members for school The first responders reported to the scene at approximately 7:40 a.m., shortly after the first shots rang out, and began treating the gunshot victims.Two students were killed, and three were left injured in the shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarity Valley, which is north of Los Angeles. The 16-year-old gunman was also taken to the hospital in critical condition after attempting to take his own life after the shooting. The entire incident unfolded over 16 seconds, law enforcement officials said.

Police and witnesses say 16-year-old Nathan Berhow came to school the morning of Nov. 14, removed the handgun from his backpack and opened fire in the Santa Clarita high school quad. Five students were shot, two of whom later died, before Berhow turned the weapon on himself. He died from his injury a day later.

Gallery by photo services

Investigators say it's unclear who assembled the kit gun, but they are examining Berhow's electronic communications in an effort to find answers, officials said. The teen's late father owned an arsenal of weapons, and when law enforcement searched the boy's home last week, a cache of guns — many of which were unregistered — was seized.

Last week, The Times and NBC reported the weapon could have been a ghost gun based on initial examination of the weapon. Sheriff's officials working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that was the case.

Detectives probe how teen got gun as California community mourns

  Detectives probe how teen got gun as California community mourns As Santa Clarita mourned the two students killed in the shooting at Saugus High School, law enforcement authorities tried to uncover a motive for the attack and how the shooter obtained the gun he used. Throughout the day and into Friday night, residents, students and families came together around a makeshift memorial in Central Park, a short walk from the school.

Authorities are seeing a proliferation of such untraceable weapons. LAPD officials say they have seen a growing number of the weapons in the last six years. In August, a semiautomatic rifle used in a gun battle between police and a convicted felon off the 215 Freeway killed California Highway Patrol Officer Andre Moye and wounded two of his colleagues. The weapons was a ghost gun that could not be traced by authorities, according to law enforcement sources.

In 2013, a gunman police identified as John Zawahri killed five people in the Santa Monica area using an AR-15-style rifle, which he built from a partially manufactured lower receiver that did not have a serial number and therefore did not have to be registered. Police said the parts needed to assemble a working rifle, including magazines of ammunition, were shipped to Zawahri from out of state.

"About a third of all firearms seized in Southern California now are unserialized, and that is expected to grow," Ginger Colbrun, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles region's ATF office, told The Times in August.

Those with lengthy criminal histories usually buy their weapons on the black market, according to law enforcement officials. In one raid last year, authorities recovered 45 ghost guns following a six-month undercover operation in Hollywood. In that case, some of the weapons, which police said were made by a gang, were assault weapons.

Such weapons often come in kits and can be acquired at gun shows or by mail. As one expert described it, the guns are as easy to assemble as Ikea furniture. A pistol consists of a frame, which includes the trigger housing that may need some tabs shaved off and several holes drilled before it can accept the barrel and action and then fire. The frame is know as an 80% receiver because it comes mostly, but not completely, manufactured. It is a finished gun with no serial numbers and therefore avoids background checks and waiting periods.

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Thousands gather at vigil in Santa Clarita, Calif., to remember school shooting victims .
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - Thousands of Santa Clarita residents gathered for a candlelight vigil Sunday night - an evening of memories, music and worship - to honor the two students killed in the shooting at Saugus High School. © Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS Students say the Pledge of Allegience as thousands gather at Central Park in Santa Clarita to remember those killed (two plus the shooter) and wounded in the Saugus High School shooting on Nov. 17 2019.

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