SoCal school shooting suspect to be charged as adult
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) The 16-year-old boy suspected of blasting a classmate with a shotgun at Taft Union High School will be charged as an adult.
Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green said Monday that Bryan Oliver will faces five charges, including two counts of attempted murder.
Oliver allegedly shot 16-year-old Bowe Cleveland inside a science class Thursday morning. The other attempted murder charge applies to classmate Jacob Nichols, who apparently wasn't injured.
Cleveland was critically injured but last known to be in stable condition.
The suspect claimed he was pushed to violence because of bullying, the sheriff's office said last week. Unconfirmed but widely circulated reports indicate Oliver had compiled a "hit list" of fellow students.
Green couldn't confirm nor deny the hit list.
The county's chief prosecutor said she considered the use of a gun, alleged premeditation and severity of injuries to Cleveland in making the decision to charge Oliver in Kern County Superior Court. She said rehabilitation by age 23 is the mission of the juvenile justice system, and that was unlikely to occur for this suspect, Green said.
"He always drew pictures of killing and people having guns and knives, and he always talked about how he was going to bomb the oil fields," former Taft student Isarai Reyes told Eyewitness News following last week's shooting.
Green said Oliver could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on just one of the attempted murder charges, with the gun enhancement. Oliver is set for arraignment Monday afternoon.
Oliver allegedly barged into the class after missing the beginning of school, wielding a shotgun with a pocket full of 12-gauge shells. The sheriff's office said it has surveillance video of the nervous-acting suspect carrying the concealed shotgun into school.
After Cleveland was shot and several rounds were fired inside the classroom, teacher Ryan Heber engaged the alleged shooter in conversation, trying to stop the attack. A campus supervisor, Kim Fields, was in the area and also engaged the suspect in conversation.
The shooter was eventually talked into laying down his gun and was taken into custody by Taft police officers, who were on campus within 60 seconds of receiving 911 calls, the sheriff said.
Oliver apparently lives close to the school, and neighbors allegedly saw him carrying the gun into school and called 911, giving police a jump start.
The teacher received minor injuries but refused medical attention. One student was taken to the hospital with possible damaged hearing, because the shotgun was discharged close to her head. Another student received minor injuries while falling over a table trying to escape inside the classroom.
Classes resume Tuesday at the high school.