“Have fun at school tomorrow.”
Those were the chilling words posted to Instagram, believed to be authored by the 16-year-old teen suspected of opening fire at his Californian high school on Thursday (local time), killing two students and wounding three others.
The alleged gunman then turned the weapon on himself, on what was his sixteenth, and will most likely be his final, birthday.
Authorities say Berhow is “gravely” ill in hospital, with police sources informing NBC4 that he is brain dead and only being kept alive while his organs were harvested for donation.
Police say he shot himself in the head and was found with the five victims in the quad area of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita.
Authorities later found the ominous message posted to social media, ostensibly taunting his future victims and foreshadowing his deadly act.
“Saugus, have fun at school tomorrow,” it read.
LA County Sheriff’s Capt. Kent Wegener told reporters at a press conference the account is believed to have belonged to the shooter, who was identified as Nathaniel Berhow by US media.
However, the bio was later changed and removed after the shooting, adding to the intrigue around the incident, which still lacks an obvious motive.
“Which means that there is somebody else that has access to this account,” Cpt Wegener said.
‘No indication of motivation or ideology’
The shooting was captured on surveillance video.
“Detectives have reviewed the video at the scene which clearly show the subject in the quad withdraw a handgun from his backpack, shoot and wound five people, and then shoot himself in the head,” Wegener said.
Investigators were searching the suspect’s home. The sheriff’s department had not received any recent calls to the boy’s house “that would indicate that there was turmoil” there, he said.
The teen’s father died two years ago. Two years before that, the father had been arrested amid a domestic dispute with the boy’s mother.
Fellow students and a neighbour say the killer was a boy scout who was smart, quiet and gave no indication he would become violent.
One girl who knew him for years said he wasn’t bullied and had a girlfriend.
“At this point in time, we have no indication of motivation or ideology,” said Paul Delacourt, the agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
Santa Clarita is a city of more than 200,000, about 48 kilometres northwest of downtown LA.
- With AP
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