Surviving California school shooting victims on road to recovery

Posted: Updated:
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (ABC) -

The three teenagers who survived being shot at their Santa Clarita, California, high school Thursday are all on the road to recovery, officials said.

Two of the five victims, 16-year-old Gracie Anne Muehlberger and a 14-year-old boy, died in the hospital after the attack at Saugus High School. The boy's name has not been released.

The three other students shot -- a 15-year-old girl, a 14-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy -- are all expected to survive.

A male student, on his 16th birthday, was in the quad around 7:30 a.m. when he took a pistol from his backpack and unloaded the entire magazine, shooting five classmates and himself.

PHOTO: A student reunites with her parents after a school shooting in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Sarah Reingewirtz/The Orange County Register via AP - A student reunites with her parents after a school shooting in Santa Clarita, Calif.

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"From the time that he withdrew the handgun from his backpack to the time that he was on the ground with a gunshot wound to his head was about 16 seconds," Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told reporters late Thursday.

The injured 15-year-old girl was shot below the bellybutton and has a bullet lodged in her hip, while the 14-year-old girl was shot in the shoulder and abdomen, hospital officials said Friday.

Both girls, who know each other, were rushed to the same hospital where they are recovering. Both should be discharged in the next few days, officials said.

The girls "held their composure despite being shot," said Dr. Boris Borazjani, a trauma surgeon at Providence Holy Cross Hospital. "I'm very proud."

The teens were "stoic" and "composed, talking to us and I think they were handling it exceptionally well," doctors said Friday.

PHOTO: Students are escorted out of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP - Students are escorted out of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif.

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The injured 14-year-old boy has already been released from the hospital.

The suspect remains in the hospital in critical condition from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.

The shooting "shook every one of us to our core," said Deputy Superintendent Mike Kuhlman.

PHOTO: Students are escorted out of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP - Students are escorted out of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif.

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Choir teacher Kaitlin Holt said one girl, shot in the hip and shoulder, was rushed into her classroom by other students. She gave the wounded student first aid and called 911.

"I'm not typically a calm person," Holt told ABC News, "but in that situation, for my students, I think that kind of kicks in."

"I should have never had to treat a gunshot wound as a choir teacher," said Holt. "And there's something really wrong and something has to change, 'cause I held a bleeding child today in a room with 40 sobbing children."

PHOTO: Hannah Schooping-Gutierrez, center, is comforted by her boyfriend Declan Sheridan, at right, a student at nearby Valencia High School during a vigil at Central Park in the aftermath of a shooting at Saugus Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP - Hannah Schooping-Gutierrez, center, is comforted by her boyfriend Declan Sheridan, at right, a student at nearby Valencia High School during a vigil at Central Park in the aftermath of a shooting at Saugus Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif.more +

Now, as the community wades through the chaos and grief, authorities are desperate for answers.

"We have not yet established a motive or a nexus between the subject and his victims other than to say that they were all students at the high school together," Wegener said.

There's no evidence so far to suggest the suspect acted on behalf of a group or with any co-conspirators, authorities said.

Investigators were alerted to a social media page after the shooting that purportedly belongs to the suspect and contained a post that read, "Saugus have fun at school tomorrow."

PHOTO: Students are evacuated from Saugus High School onto a school bus after a shooting at the school left two students dead and three wounded, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, California.
Mario Tama/Getty Images - Students are evacuated from Saugus High School onto a school bus after a shooting at the school left two students dead and three wounded, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, California.more +

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"I can confirm that that was posted to his account, and I can also confirm that it has been changed since this incident, which means there is somebody else that has access to this account -- be it a hacker, be it a friend that has his password," Wegener told reporters. "That was posted at one point. We are aware of it and we are researching the source, when it was posted and when it was taken down."

A .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol was recovered from the crime scene, and investigators have served a search warrant at the suspect's family home in Santa Clarita, just a couple miles from the school.

The suspect's mother and girlfriend are both speaking with detectives, according to authorities.

The William S. Hart Union High School District, which includes Saugus High School, canceled Friday classes at all of its schools in the wake of the attack.

PHOTO: A sign reads #centurionstrong during a vigil at Central Park in the aftermath of a shooting at Saugus High School, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP - A sign reads #centurionstrong during a vigil at Central Park in the aftermath of a shooting at Saugus High School, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif.more +

The school district holds shooting trainings, though "we prayed that we would never need it," Kuhlman, the deputy superintendent, said in a letter to the community on Thursday.

"Yet today, our brilliant staff bravely and vigilantly went into action," Kuhlman said. "Placing a priority on their students’ safety, our wonderful Saugus High School team were quick to order students to shelter in place, and your students responded."

Kuhlman wrote to the parents: "Hold your children tight. Love them. Praise them for being responsible in the face of fear."

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