Off-duty officers were the first responders to the California high school shooting — because they were dropping off their own family members for school

Lauren Frias
Saugus High School shooting santa clarita

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez


  • An off-duty sheriff's deputy and two off-duty police officers were the first to respond to the scene of a shooting at a Southern California high school — because they were dropping off their own family members for school.
  • Two students were killed and three were left injured in the shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarity Valley, which is north of Los Angeles. The gunman was also left in grave condition after he attempted to take his own life after the shooting.
  • The first responders reported to the scene at approximately 7:40 a.m., shortly after the first shots rang out, and began treating victims to stem the bleeding.
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An off-duty sheriff's deputy and two off-duty police officers were the first to respond to the scene of a shooting at a Southern California high school — because they were dropping off their own family members for school.

Two students were killed, and three were left injured in the shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarity Valley, which is north of Los Angeles. The 16-year-old gunman was also taken to the hospital in critical condition after attempting to take his own life after the shooting. The entire incident unfolded over 16 seconds, law enforcement officials said.

The first responders reported to the scene at approximately 7:40 a.m., shortly after the first shots rang out. Detective Daniel Finn, who works at Santa Clarita Station, had just dropped off a family member at school when he saw students running, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told KTLA.

"[He] was exiting, driving away from the school along the perimeter, when he saw all of the children running away from the sound of the gunfire," Villanueva told the local news outlet. "He turned around and became the very first person on scene."

Villanueva said Finn was accompanied by Officer Sean Yanez from the Inglewood Police Department and Officer Gus Ramirez from the Los Angeles Police Department, and all three "entered the school literally within seconds of the shooting."

Uniformed officers arrived within a minute of the off-duty officers, Villanueva told CNN.

"Off-duty first responders were there and did not hesitate, turned around, and went right into the source of the gunfire to attempt to neutralize it, and they rendered first aid immediately," Villanueva said to KTLA. "Their actions definitely saved lives, and my hat's off to them."

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