"He had intended targets. There's no question," said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood. "Certainly the two people that he targeted had bullied him, in his mind."
At least one of the community members contributing to these reports is Angela Hayden, the mother of a 16-year-old Taft Union student, who told the Los Angeles Times that the suspect "was telling everyone that he had a list of people who messed with him over the years and that he was going to kill them."
The school was apparently concerned enough to expel the boy for a few days over his threats, but would not comment on why the punishment wasn't more severe.
Law enforcement officials say the student ultimately made good on his tough talk, arming himself with his brother's shotgun and heading into the school with pockets full of ammunition.
He managed to shoot one target in the chest, but missed the second one.
A much larger tragedy was averted thanks to an alert resident who phoned the Taft Police Department to report a boy entering the high school with a weapon. Police were at the scene within 60 seconds, according to Police Chief Ed Whiting.
The shooting victim, meanwhile, remained in hospital, and was listed in critical but stable condition.
[photo via AP]