Hart School District board recognizes Saugus High School first responders

The deputies of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station receive a recognition from the William S. Hart Union High School District board due to their response to the Saugus High School shooting on Nov. 14. Caleb Lunetta / The Signal.

The William S. Hart Union High School board of trustees on Wednesday recognized the law enforcement personnel who responded to Saugus High School on Nov. 14.

In less than 16 seconds, a 16-year-old shooter had taken the lives of two students, Gracie Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell, before turning the gun on himself. Some of the first people on the scene were the deputies of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. 

“Our six school resource officers provided exemplary service to the staff and students in this district, as they responded to the tragic shooting at Saugus High School on Nov. 14,” said Superintendent Vicki Engbrecht. “Arriving on the scene as first responders within minutes of the call, these dedicated officers went above and beyond to safely contain the scene, minimize additional trauma to students and staff, implement the orderly evacuation from the campus as well as supervise the reunification process, allowing parents to reconnect with their children as early as possible.”

Engbrecht went on to thank Capt. Robert Lewis of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station — who’s slated to be promoted to commander — for his communication with stakeholders and other law enforcement agencies, as well as his ongoing support in the aftermath of the crisis.

“It’s very heartfelt because it’s personal to all of us, not only for myself as the supervisor, but Lt. (Joseph) Fender, who was there within minutes and ran the campus as I ran the command post,” Lewis said, adding that the other resource deputies, after helping on the scene at Saugus High School, returned to their own schools they are assigned to assist on the ground there. “This is a great award, and for me and the staff here I think that it’s well deserved.” 

At the end of Lewis speaking he announced each school resource deputy by name, and asked them to come to the front of the room, where they were thanked by each member of the board personally.

“We have long been grateful for the strong relationship that we have with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s (Station), and especially with our school resource officers. This tragedy underscores how lucky we are,” said Engbrecht. “Your prompt actions, and courage, save lives, and your continued presence and support on all of our campuses is so much appreciated.”

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