Santa Clarita High School Shooter Dies, Two Victims Identified

By Brad Jones
Brad Jones
Brad Jones
Brad Jones is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California.
November 16, 2019 Updated: November 16, 2019

The alleged gunman who shot five of his classmates—killing two of them—at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif. on Nov. 14 has died.

Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow shot himself in the head after the attack on his sixteenth birthday, and had been hospitalized in custody. He died at around 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

Several eyewitnesses reported Berhow shot five students before turning the handgun on himself, Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday.

Surveillance video obtained at the scene showed the suspect taking a pistol out of his backpack and firing the first round in the shooting, Wegener said. Police later discovered an empty 45-caliber semi-automatic handgun in the quad area of the school where the shooting happened. The attack lasted just 16 seconds.

When Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the school, they found the shooter among those injured in the incident, which occurred at about 7:30 a.m., 20 minutes before classes were to begin.

Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14, have been identified as the two victims who died the morning of the shooting.

Two other girls who were shot remain in the hospital, but are expected to be released sometime this weekend. One 14-year-old boy was released Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, as police continue to unravel evidence, a motive for the shooting remains a mystery.

“Suffice it to say we did not find any manifesto, any diary that spelled it out, any suicide note or any writings which will clearly identify his motive behind this assault,” Wegener said.

However, police reported earlier that a social media post, possibly made by Berhow, stated: “Saugus have fun at school tomorrow.”

Police searched the suspect’s home on Sycamore Creek Drive where Berhow lived with his mother. They found six guns registered to the suspect’s late father, but no registration for the gun used in yesterday’s shooting.

“We know it was a planned attack. It was deliberate,” said L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “He knew how many rounds he had, for example. However, the details, we don’t have that yet.”

Police have conducted more than 40 interviews and are still investigating the crime. Saugus High School remains closed and students have not been notified when to return to class.

The community remains shaken as friends and families of the victims struggle to come to grips with the Thursday’s tragic reality. A vigil is planned for Sunday.

Santa Clarita is located about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and is the third largest city in L.A. County with about 294,000 residents.

Police have asked anyone with any additional information about the shooting to call the Los Angeles County Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Brad Jones
Brad Jones
Brad Jones is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California.