Gracie Muehlberger was killed in the Saugus High School shooting in Santa Clarita, California, on November 14. Muehlberger was one of two students killed in the shooting. The other victim from the shooting was identified as 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell. Three other students were also injured in the shooting.
The suspect, 16-year-old Nathaniel Berhow, sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in addition to allegedly shooting six other people. He was taken to the hospital and died a day later.
Muehlberger’s death was first confirmed by the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s official Twitter account, mere hours after the shooting took place. The tweet read, “#saugushighshooting: update: one female deceased patient. Two critical male patients. One male patient in good condition.” Two other students were airlifted to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, California.
Muehlberger’s brother, Riley, tweeted shortly after, “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 Gracie”
On Friday, November 15, Muehlberger’s identity was confirmed by the Los Angeles coroner.
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. Muehlberger’s Twitter Account Shows a Young Woman Eager to ‘Be Old Enough’ to Enjoy Some of the Benefits of Adulthood
Muehlberger’s Twitter account, Facebook, and Instagram all show similar images, in which Muehlberger covered her face for the camera. She often retweeted humorous, angsty, and silly tweets on Twitter. She retweeted a tweet that said, “can we stop comparing women, thank you,” and another one that said, “i swear some weeks i’m on the highest highs and then next it feels lower than ever.”
She even tweeted herself, “i just want to be old enough to get a job to get money to buy clothes, is that too much to ask????”
Additionally, her pinned tweet read, “sad boi hour ?”
2. Muehlberger’s Parents Have Set Up a GoFundMe to Memorialize the Teenager
A GoFundMe has been made in honor of Muehlberger by her grieving parents. The summary reads,
“It is with the most unexplainable brokenness that we share our Gracie went to be with Jesus on Thursday morning.
Our vivacious, funny, loyal, light of our lives, Cinderella, the daughter we always dreamed to have, fiercely strong and lover of all things fashionable – was our best friend. She is going to be missed more than words will ever be able to express.
We deeply appreciate the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, colleagues, our church and the whole Santa Clarita and national communities. We are grieving and navigating this pain moment by moment. Thank you for respecting our privacy at this time.
We will love you always Sweetpea!”
The initial goal of $1,000 for the GoFundMe was quickly surpassed. Within the first day, the fundraiser had raised over $20,000.
3. Many Classmates Have Since Paid Tribute to Muehlberger, Describing Her as ‘Sweet’
Following Riley’s tweet about his sister, many classmates, neighbors, and people from around the world commented to offer their thoughts and condolences.
One apparent classmate wrote, “Praying for you Riley. She was always so sweet. I am deeply sorry for your loss. We are here for you and your family.”
Another person wrote, “Glad that I got to know such a sweet girl. Love you riley. Always here for you and your family”
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.”
Still another friend said that Muehlberger cared a lot about the issue of mental health, and had talked a friend out of a suicide attempt in the past. That friend said to BuzzFeed News, “If I knew in the past [what would happen], I would’ve just hugged her tighter.”
4. Blackwell, 14, Was a Local Athlete & Member of the ROTC Program at Saugus
Blackwell, 14, was a member of the Saugus ROTC program, and played football locally. 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.
Friends have described Blackwell as a happy young man who loved Spongebob Squarepants. One childhood friend, Joshua Mourthi, said of Blackwell to LAist, “He used to play a lot with his brothers. He had a couple of dogs. He loved his dogs. He liked swimming, too. I remember that.”
He added, “We used to call our three houses the commune. Everyone was there and we’d all group together. It was like a second family.”
5. The Students of Saugus High Had Participated in Active Student Drills & Even Conducted a School-Wide Walkout to Protest School Shooting
The students of Saugus High have been politically active in the past, in the hopes of preventing the very event that took place on Thursday. Many of them joined the March for Our Lives Movement, and participated in the nationwide walkouts that took place in March 2018.
Per CNN, a handful of Saugus students hosted a gun control town hall with local leaders the month later. One student said then, “It’s very easy to look at today’s politics and make quick judgments. What isn’t easy is having a one-on-one conversation with one another, and engaging in this town hall.”
Former California Rep. Katie Hill is a Saugus alum. She told CNN that some Saugus students had volunteered for her campaign. Hill tweeted throughout the tragedy, offering information and sharing her heartbreak. She wrote, “My god, active shooter at my high school. 7 injured so far. Unsure if the suspect is caught yet. Praying for all… we have so many campaign interns and volunteers who go there.”