Suspected gunman in Southern California High School shooting dies

The student who opened fire at his Southern California high school on his 16th birthday, killing two students and injuring three others before shooting himself in the head, died Friday, Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials said.

He "was being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, when he succumbed to his injuries," officials said in a statement.

"His mother was present at the time of his passing," they said.

Earlier Friday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the Thursday morning attack appeared to have been planned, but, "it still remains a mystery why."

"We know it was a planned attack," he said Friday. "It was deliberate."

The suspected gunman, identified by multiple law enforcement officers as Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, pulled a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol from his backpack in the quad area of Saugus High School and opened fire, according to officials.

The first reports of the shooting were logged at 7:38 a.m. Thursday, they said.

The suspect had been dropped off at school by his mother, the sheriff said. He was standing by himself, walked to the quad area, dropped his backpack and started firing, striking random targets, Villanueva said.

He cleared a malfunction with the weapon and was able to squeeze off several shots, all within 16 seconds, the sheriff said. He "seemed very familiar with firing the weapon," he said.

Villanueva said students recently underwent active shooter training and when violence erupted Thursday, "did exactly as they were trained" by running and hiding.

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Two dead after a student opens fire at Saugus High School in California
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Two dead after a student opens fire at Saugus High School in California
Students are comforted as they wait to be reunited with their parents following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ambulances are parked outside of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Santa Clarita, Calif. A few people were injured Thursday during a shooting at the high school, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and a search was underway for the gunman, authorities said. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A police officer stands guard as students wait to reunite with their parents following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Students and others wait outside a reunification center in Santa Clarita, Calif., after a shooting at Saugus High School injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Stefanie Dazio)
Law enforcement personnel gather outside Saugus High School following a shooting in Santa Clarita, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Stefanie Dazio)
People are lead out of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Santa Clarita, Calif. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says on Twitter that deputies are responding to the high school about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The sheriff’s office says a male suspect in black clothing was seen at the school. (KTTV-TV via AP)
People wait for students and updates outside of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
People are lead out of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Santa Clarita, Calif. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says on Twitter that deputies are responding to the high school about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The sheriff’s office says a male suspect in black clothing was seen at the school. (KTTV-TV via AP)
In this photo from video provided by KTLA-TV paramedics transport an injured person after a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., early Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (KTLA-TV via AP)
CALIFORNIA shaded relief map, highlighted with SACRAMENTO (capital) and SANTA CLARITA locator and SCHOOL SHOOTING lettering, finished graphic
Students are escorted out of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
D.J. Hamburger, center in blue, a teacher at Saugus High School, comforts a student after reports of a shooting at the school on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department stands outside of Saugus High School with his weapon drawn after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
People wait outside of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted that the suspect was in custody and was being treated at a hospital. He said the suspect was a student but gave no further information.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Students are escorted out of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Students are escorted out of Saugus High School as some parents join them after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Students are comforted as they wait to be reunited with their parents following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Students are embraced as they reunite at a park following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Students are escorted in a single file line as some parents pick them up outside of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A student is comforted as she reunite at a park following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ella Cabigting is embraced by her father Emerson as they reunite following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
A police officer stands guard as students wait to be reunited with their parents following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ella Cabigting is embraced by her father Emerson as they reunite following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Students are embraced as they reunite at a park following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Students are escorted in a line as they wait to be reunited with their parents following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Students are comforted as they wait to be reunited with their parents following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
A student is embraced as she reunite at a park following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, at podium, and other police, fire and school officials hold a news conference about s shooting at that killed one and wounded several at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Stefanie Dazio)
Students wait to be reunited with their parents at a park following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
A student is kissed as he reunited at a park following a shooting at Saugus High School that injured several people, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Law enforcement officials arrive on the scene after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)
Students evacuate their campus after reports of a shooting at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Santa Clarita, Calif. The shooting occurred around 7:30 a.m. at the high school, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo by Christian Monterrosa)
Parents wait to reunite with their children after a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Students evacuate their campus after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)
First responders standby for any injured students after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo by Christian Monterrosa)
Heavily armed FBI officials survey the scene after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)
Students evacuate their campus after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)
Students evacuate their campus after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo by Christian Monterrosa)
Students evacuate their campus after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo by Christian Monterrosa)
Students evacuate their campus after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)
First responders standby for any injured students after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)
Students evacuate their campus after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo by Christian Monterrosa)
Students evacuate their campus after a gunman opened fire at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)
A student is escorted out of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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School resource Deputy James Callahan told reporters he was on-scene within minutes and administered CPR to victims. "I immediately entered the school ... and saw three gunshot victims on the ground," he said.

Two of the victims, 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, died. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner identified the female victim as Gracie Muehlberger, while it worked to identify the identity of the male victim.

One wounded victim was released from the hospital Thursday night, while a 14-year-old girl and 15-year-old girl who were shot remained hospitalized Friday, but were expected to be released in coming days.

The shooter and all of the victims were Saugus students, but Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department homicide Capt. Kent Wegener said the gunman had no known connection to the teens he shot and appears to have fired at random.

About 40 witnesses have been interviewed, authorities said.

Detectives searched the suspect's home in Santa Clarita, about 35 miles outside of Los Angeles, and interviewed his mother and girlfriend.

Authorities told NBC Los Angeles that they found other guns in the home, but it's unclear who they belonged to.

Wegener subsequently told reporters that six weapons were found and were being analyzed by authorities from the sheriff's department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"We did not find any manifesto which would clearly identify his motive behind this assault," the captain told reporters Friday.

Berhow's father, Mark Berhow, and mother, Mami Matsuura, were in the midst of a custody battle in 2016, according to a court filing in Los Angeles county. Prior to that, Mark Berhow had been arrested during a domestic dispute with Matsuura, The Associated Press reported.

Law enforcement sources told NBC Los Angeles that Mark Berhow was detained for a mental health evaluation at the time of the custody hearings, and following the evaluation, deputies seized firearms from the home.

The following year, Mark Berhow died of a heart attack, according to an online obituary that said he was survived by his wife, his son, Nathaniel, and a daughter.

The church where Mark Berhow's funeral was held hosted a service Thursday night for the victims of the shooting, according to a Facebook post.

"His father died very recently. So apparently he had a lot of stress from that," neighbor Tom Morreale told NBC Los Angeles.

The shooter and all of the victims were Saugus students, but Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department homicide Capt. Kent Wegener said the gunman had no known connection to the teens he shot and appears to have fired at random.

About 40 witnesses have been interviewed, authorities said.

Detectives searched the suspect's home in Santa Clarita, about 35 miles outside of Los Angeles, and interviewed his mother and girlfriend.

Authorities told NBC Los Angeles that they found other guns in the home, but it's unclear who they belonged to.

Wegener subsequently told reporters that six weapons were found and were being analyzed by authorities from the sheriff's department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"We did not find any manifesto which would clearly identify his motive behind this assault," the captain told reporters Friday.

Berhow's father, Mark Berhow, and mother, Mami Matsuura, were in the midst of a custody battle in 2016, according to a court filing in Los Angeles county. Prior to that, Mark Berhow had been arrested during a domestic dispute with Matsuura, The Associated Press reported.

Law enforcement sources told NBC Los Angeles that Mark Berhow was detained for a mental health evaluation at the time of the custody hearings, and following the evaluation, deputies seized firearms from the home.

The following year, Mark Berhow died of a heart attack, according to an online obituary that said he was survived by his wife, his son, Nathaniel, and a daughter.

The church where Mark Berhow's funeral was held hosted a service Thursday night for the victims of the shooting, according to a Facebook post.

"His father died very recently. So apparently he had a lot of stress from that," neighbor Tom Morreale told NBC Los Angeles.

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