The identity of the two victims who were shot Thursday by the 16-year-old Nathaniel Berhow is known. These are 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell and 15-year-old Gracie Anne Muehlberger. Three other students were injured during the high school shooting near Los Angeles. The perpetrator, who shot himself in the head, succumbed to his injuries yesterday.
A page was set up on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to commemorate both victims of the shooting at the Saugus de Santa Clarita High School. In a message on the website, Gracie’s parents let them know that they are in shock. “She brought light into our lives,” it sounds. “She was lively, funny and loyal. Our Cinderella, the daughter we have always dreamed of and our best friend. There are no words for the loss.”
Dominic is described as “a radiant personality, known for his generous smile and his warm heart”. “His three brothers will miss their big brother immensely,” it says on the page. A few local residents told CBS Los Angeles that the teenage boy comes from an “incredibly loving family.” “This is very traumatic for our neighborhood,” says Dave Lyznick, a neighbor of the Blackwell family.
Anthony Martinez also says on social media that he really misses his good friend Dominic. Anthony and Dominic played in the same soccer team. “I keep thinking about him,” says the teenage boy. “I have not only lost a teammate, but also a brother. This is so unreal. I wish I could see your big smile every day. I love you.”
The 16-year-old shooter, Nathaniel Berhow, also hit three other students during his atrocity. Two girls (aged 14 and 15) were hit in the abdominal area. They were operated on in a hospital and are now doing well in the circumstances. A 14 year old boy was treated in a hospital and was allowed to go home afterwards.
According to police, Nathaniel had carefully planned the shooting. “It seemed random, but he clearly knew how to handle a firearm,” he said during a press conference. No diary, manifest or letter was found that the boy left behind for his deed. Yet, the way he handled his weapon, counted his shots, and kept the last bullet for himself, police say the boy had a plan.
His mother dropped Nathaniel off at the school gate on his birthday in the morning. He walked into the grounds, dropped his backpack, and grabbed his weapon. He started shooting around 7.30 am. After only sixteen counts, the shooting stopped. Nathaniel hit five young people and then shot himself in the head. He died of his injuries in the hospital yesterday.
Tyler Nilson, a classmate of the perpetrator, says that he had never expected this from Nathaniel. “I’m ashamed to some extent that I didn’t know him better. We were not very good friends with each other,” he testifies to Insider. “We all respond in disbelief. He did not come across as a loner or an aggressive type. I would never have thought that he would commit such an atrocity.”
The police are investigating the matter further. For the time being it is still a matter of guessing the motives of the perpetrator.