There are conflicting accounts from law enforcement sources about whether or not Taft Union High School shooting suspect Oliver has been linked to a “hit list” or ever referred to one.
Oliver carried a .12-gauge shotgun into the TUHS science building and shot Bowe Cleveland, also 16, and tried to shoot another student, Taft Police and Kern County Sheriff's said.
Law enforcement has had little to say publicly about the alleged “hit list,” by have confirmed that Cleveland and one other male student were targeted by Oliver
But many parents and students have linked the suspect to a “hit list” and Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said that will be a part of the investigation that brought about 100 law enforcement officers to Taft.
One law enforcement source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Oliver was linked to a “hit list” in the 2011-12 school year and was even the subject of a threat assessment by school officials.
But another source said there is no information to confirm that.
Youngblood said Oliver definitely targeted Cleveland and another student, even using their names.
Oliver is accused of bringing a .12-gauge shotgun numerous rounds for the gun to the Taft High science building and firing two rounds in a second-floor classroom.
Cleveland was struck by one round at close range.
Police and Sheriff's officials said a major tragedy was averted when teacher Ryan Heber and campus security supervisor Kim Fields were able to talk the shooter into putting the gun down.
Heber and Fields are being praised as heroes by law enforcement officers.
Police arrived seconds later and took the boy into custody without further incident.
It was only the start of a long ordeal.
The shooting put not only Taft Union High school and nearby Buena Vista High on lockdown but all of the six Taft City School District campuses on lockdown.
Students at the elementary schools were soon released to their parents.
(Schools reopened as normal on Friday, but officials did report attendance was down.)
But students at the high school waited some times for hours, for heavily armed law enforcement officers to enter their rooms and take them out under escort to the cafeteria.
The shooting prompted a massive response by law enforcement.
Taft Police were on scene about one minute after the first call.
Sheriff deputies were their seconds later.
More and more deputies, at least 75, including a SWAT team in full combat gear, detectives and uniformed deputes established a perimeter around the school and searched the campus room by room, tunnel by tunnel.
Deputies reported finding frightened students cowering in darkened rooms as the searched the campus.
A group of special needs students was hidden in a basement under the cafeteria with the cafeteria staff.
The students were led into the auditorium while their parents gathered outside the perimeter.
Federal officers, including the FBI and ATF, joined Taft Police, the deputies, CHP officers, probation officers and state parole officers.
Taft Chief of Police Ed Whiting estimated about 100 law enforcement officers were on the scene.
Oliver lives on the 600 block of San Emidio and used a gun owned by his older brother, Whiting said.
He walked the short distance to the science building
Whiting confirmed that the suspect was seen carrying the gun into the science building, both by a resident who saw him and called police, and on surveillance video.
Whiting said it will be up to the Kern County District Attorney's Office to decide whether or not to charge Oliver as an adult.
District Attorney Lisa Green has called for a press conference to be held at 8:30 a.m. Monday in Bakersfield.