Palmdale School Shooting Suspect Is 14-Year-Old Boy Who Had Just Transferred

Police vehicles are seen on the road near Highland High School, in Palmdale, California, U.S., May 11, 2018 in this picture grab obtained from social media video. A 14-year-old former student has been arrested. MELENDEZ N JUNIOR/via REUTERS

Police are investigating why a 14-year-old boy went into his former high school and began shooting with a semi-automatic gun.

The former student took out an SKS-style carbine and fired about 10 shots on the campus of Highland High School in Palmdale, California around 7am Friday. One student aged 15 was hit in the shoulder by gunfire but is expected to recover.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said the gun was found in a field west of the school and its ownership history was being looked into, CNN reported.

Witnesses described how people ran after they heard the gunshots that started before classes had begun. Students fled the school building which was placed on lockdown for two hours.

Lydia Gilbert, a junior at Highland, said she had just been dropped off when she was told of the shooting and heard gunshots before her mother quickly drove her away.

"I was supposed to be going to school earlier than I was, but was late," she told CNN. She added that a school shooting had "actually been one of my biggest fears."

Highland High student Katharina Smith, 16, told the broadcaster she saw police racing toward school.

"There were some kids running from the school, and security and sheriff were telling people to go home," she said.

Police say the suspect had phoned his father and told him he had fired a gun in the air. His father then contacted police who caught up with the boy at a Vons grocery store around a mile away.

Police say it is too early to to tell what the motive is.

"When you think about what we went through today and the fact that it worked out as well as it did, a lot of training goes into this. The outcome was much better than anybody could have anticipated," McDonnell added.

The suspect has been charged with attempted murder. It was the 21st shooting in a U.S. high school so far this year.

Schools have been on high alert since February, when a gunman killed 17 people inside a high school in Parkland, Florida. The Los Angeles Unified School District's police department said in the wake of the massacre there were 160 threats in nine days, the Los Angeles Times reported.