FOLLOWING earlier breaking news in relation to a shooting which took place at the Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, minutes before the school day was due to begin, officials have confirmed that two students have been killed and three others injured.
The male suspect, who was also injured, is now in custody.
The shooting was first reported at 07:38 local time (15:38 GMT), LA county sheriff Alex Villanueva told a press conference and reported by CNN.
“Within seconds we received multiple [emergency] calls,” The LA sheriff was stated to say, adding that the first police units had arrived at the scene within two minutes.
Police found six people suffering from gunshot wounds and transferred them to local hospitals – and the suspect was later identified as one of those injured who had turned the gun on himself, Mr Villanueva said.
Two victims – a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy – died of their injuries, he added.
The other victims were two girls aged 15 and 14, and a 14-year-old boy.
The suspect was “identified as a 16-year-old male whose birthday was today”, he added.
Accoriding to reports, the weapon recovered was an emptied .45 calibre semi-automatic pistol. The suspect’s home has been identified and will be searched for evidence.
Saugus High School and other neighbouring schools were placed on lockdown during the shooting. The lockdown was lifted about three hours later.
LA undersheriff Tim Murakami wrote on Twitter that police would be interviewing all Saugus High School students before releasing them to their parents.
He added that they would investigate rumours that the suspect had posted threats on social media.
According to the Washington Post, more than 230,000 young people in the US have experienced gun violence at school since the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in 1999.
About 40% of Americans say they own a gun or live in a household with one, according to a 2017 survey, and the rate of murder or manslaughter by firearm in the country is the highest in the developed world.
So much so that many US schools have implemented active shooter drills in recent years, following a string of attacks.