Saugus High Shooting: Coroner IDs both students killed

Authorities arrive at Saugus High School on Thursday, Nov. 14, after a student opened fire on campus. Tammy Murga/The Signal
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Los Angeles County coroner’s officials identified the two teens who died as a result of the Saugus High School shooting Thursday.

Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, was the first to be identified. She succumbed to her injuries at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital at nearly 9:30 a.m., just more than an hour after the incident commenced. She had just celebrated her birthday Oct. 10. 

Officials identified the second student as Dominic Blackwell, who turned 14 in September. 

Due to a security hold on each case, no other information about their death will be released until law enforcement allows, coroner spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said on Friday. 

The shooting started at the beginning of the school day Thursday morning, after 16-year-old Nathaniel Berhow pulled a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol from his backpack and shot rounds on his birthday, killing the two teenagers and wounding four others, including himself, according to Sheriff’s Department officials who have footage of the incident. 

The three wounded victims are recovering, and expected to return home this week, hospital officials said Friday morning. Although not identified by name, hospital and law enforcement officials acknowledged that the fourth person hospitalized and in critical condition was the attacker. 

Since learning about the victims who died, the Santa Clarita Valley community has come together to share their best memories of Muehlberger and Blackwell and show support for their families. 

The Muehlberger family has started a GoFundMe account to set up a memorial. As of Friday afternoon, nearly $16,000 had been raised. 

“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,” the parents said on the account. “She is going to be missed more than words will ever be able to express.”

Saugus High student Amanda Davis, 17, said she had spent time with both Muehlberger and Blackwell, two peers who were known to be “really sweet.”

“I hung out with them a few times, and the times I did, they were really sweet and so kind-hearted,” said Davis. “It’s so sad that their innocent lives were taken away.” 

Since Thursday’s shooting, another GoFundMe account, titled “Support Saugus High Students and Staff,” launched and had more than $16,214 raised Friday afternoon. Funds donated will go toward trauma-informed support, memorial services and grief counseling, according to the campaign. 

The city of Santa Clarita has also set up a website, saugusstrong.org. 

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