Dominic Blackwell was named as the 14-year-old boy who died in the Saugus High School school shooting in Santa Clarita, California. 15-year-old Gracie Muehlberger was also killed in the shooting.
On Thursday, authorities rushed on the scene and found multiple victims in the school. At first, authorities thought the suspect, Nathaniel Berhow, was one of the victims. He was taken to the hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He died a day later on Friday, November 15.
In total, two victims – Blackwell and Muehlberger – died in the attack. However, three of the five people who were shot survived.
A “Saugus Strong” Vigil will be held on Sunday night at 7 p.m. local time, for those who wish to attend. It will take place at 72150 Bouqet Canyon Road, which is the address of Central Park in Saugus.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Friends Mourn & Pay Tribute to Blackwell on Social Media
According to Hometown Station, Blackwell was an athlete, and played for the Saugus High JROTC program. Prior to that, he played on a pop warner league nearby.
Many classmates, teammates, and friends have mourned the loss of Blackwell. People were paying tribute to him online immediately.
One teammate wrote, “I cant stop thinking about him, I just cant process anything. Not only did I lose my teammate but I lost my brother. This is unreal bro I just wish I can see your huge smile everyday. I love you ugh, peep me and you together in the picture”
That same friend wrote in another tweet, “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 long live dominic blackwell, love you”
2. Blackwell Was in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program (ROTC) at Saugus
Blackwell was enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at Saugus. One of his friends, a freshman at Saugus who was in the ROTC program with him, told LAist, “Everybody loved him. He would walk up to you and it was just an instant smile.”
She added that Blackwell would always laugh with her when she had trouble with the choreography during their competition rifle team practices. She said, “He would watch me hit my head with the rifle every time and he would crack up. Now my rifle buddy is gone… I’m going to miss doing that with him.”
Colonel Chris Bricker, the head of the ROTC program, told the publication, “You can tell who’s a bright shining star and he was definitely one of them.”
3. Blackwell Was the Nephew of an Employee at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; A GoFundMe Has Been Set Up in His Honor
A GoFundMe has been set up in honor of Blackwell. The summary for the fundraiser reads,
On November 14, 2019, this world lost a bright, shining light… personified by a goofy laugh, cheesy smile, and a huge, caring heart He was taken from his family and friends in the most senseless of ways. His three brothers will miss their big brother greatly, and his parents’ dreams for him will never be realized.Dominic’s family needs this time to pull together and mourn this unexpected loss.
The family wishes to express appreciation for all of the love and support of the community in the aftermath of this tragic event.
The fundraiser has an initial goal of $1,000. There’s also info on the GoFundMe for Gracie Muehlberger below.
In a statement on Friday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said, “The 14-year old-boy is the nephew of one of our security officers.” That 14-year-old boy was eventually identified as Blackwell.
The day prior, Villanueva said that authorities received a call at 7:38 a.m. about a shooting at Saugus High School. Within seconds, they received multiple calls and within two minutes, authorities were at the scene.
They “encountered in the quad area of the school multiple victims with gunshot wounds.” There were six people there. Among those transported, one turned out to be Berhow. He died of his injuries a day later.
The school was locked down. People sheltered in place, and some were evacuated until “we established who was responsible for this tragic shooting.”
Surrounding schools in the area were also placed on lock down.
Video surveillance and eyewitness accounts led authorities to the suspect’s name. They then executed a search warrant at his home and are still investigating the motive.
4. Authorities Say Berhow Ran Out of Bullets & the Shooting Took Place on His Birthday
Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said authorities realized quickly that it was an active shooter situation.
Berhow was later identified as one of the people found in the quad. His birthday took place on the day of the shooting. The weapon he used was a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. It had no more bullets in it, and was found at the scene.
Authorities are processing video from the high school surveillance system. They are also trying to gather cell phone video that students might have taken.
Authorities revealed that, horrifically, the mass shooting was captured on surveillance video. They provided details of how the attack unfolded.
“Detectives have reviewed the video at the scene, which clearly shows the subject in the quad withdraw a handgun from his backpack, shoot and wound five people and then shoot himself in the head.”
There were no other suspects involved.
5. A Teenage Girl Named Gracie Muehlberger Also Lost Her Life
15-year-old Gracie Muehlberger also died in the school shooting, authorities said. Her age was falsely relayed as being a year older, but the coroner confirmed that she was 15.
Muehlberger’s brother first confirmed her death when he wrote on his Twitter page, “my heart is killing me right now, you are the best sister I could’ve asked for, I just know you’re my guardian angel now. I love you…”
A GoFundMe has been set up to raise money for Muehlberger’s family, who intend to “memorialize” Muehlberger’s life in some way. You can see it here.
Muehlberger was described by many as being a sweet girl who always smiled. To BuzzFeed News, one friend of Muehlberger’s said, “You just had to love her. She always had a smile on her face. Her smile could be seen across the room.” Another friend told the publication that Muehlberger was “an all-American girl.”