SANTA CLARITA — A 16-year-old Saugus High School student who walked into the campus quad and shot five classmates, two of them fatally, then turned the gun on himself died Friday at a hospital.
Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, a junior at Saugus High, died at 3:32 p.m. Friday, according to the sheriff’s department. Sheriff’s officials said his mother was with him when he died.
Meanwhile, investigators remained stymied in their search for a motive that prompted the shooting, which occurred shortly before 7:40 a.m. Thursday on the campus at 21900 Centurion Way.
“No motive or rationale has yet been established for the subject’s assault,” Sheriff’s Capt. Kent Wegener said Friday.
All schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District were closed Friday “out of respect for the victims and their families,” Deputy Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said. Instead, school district counselors were made available to students, parents and residents throughout the day at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita.
As of late Friday, it was still unclear if the campuses would reopen Monday.
The coroner’s office on Friday identified the two students killed in the shooting as Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14.
“Our vivacious, funny, loyal, light of our lives, Cinderella, the daughter we always dreamed to have, fiercely strong and lover of all things fashionable -- was our best friend,” Muehlberger’s parents wrote in a statement on a GoFundMe page established on behalf of the family. “She is going to be missed more than words will ever be able to express.
“We deeply appreciate the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, colleagues, our church and the whole Santa Clarita and national communities. We are grieving and navigating this pain moment by moment. ... We will love you always Sweetpea!”
A friend and former youth football teammate of Blackwell posted a football team photo on Twitter and wrote, “Today a lil guy with a big heart lost his life in the Saugus shooting. He was always smiling making people laugh always positive. He was the sweetest kid ever and such a good kid. We need more people like you.”
A 14-year-old boy wounded in the shooting was treated and released Thursday at Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia. Two girls, aged 14 and 15, remained hospitalized Friday at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. Doctors said they were both recovering and could be released in the coming days.
Doctors said the 14-year-old was shot in a shoulder and abdomen and was in stable condition and “doing well.” The 15-year-old girl had a single bullet wound that entered below her belly button and lodged in her left hip. Doctors performed surgery and were able to remove the bullet, officials said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the injured students at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center on Thursday.
“A remarkable experience, being with 14-, 15-year-old survivors, that are consoling you, not the other way around,” Newsom told Fox11. “They had this remarkable resilience, smiles on their face, one just coming out of surgery, the other one with two gunshot wounds and just remarkably blessed that they are alive, their families with them.”
Newsom called the spirit of the wounded students “amazing.”
Sheriff’s officials said Berhow carried out Thursday’s shooting on his 16th birthday. According to Wegener, campus security cameras captured footage showing Berhow walking into the campus quad, pulling a semiautomatic .45-caliber pistol out of his backpack and opening fire — shooting five people then shooting himself in the head. The entire shooting took 16 seconds, Wegener said.