UK & World News
California School Shooting: Teachers Praised
Two people who faced a teenager who had already shot at students at a rural California high school have been praised for their "heroics" in talking the gunman down.
The 16-year-old had walked into Taft Union High School on Thursday before shooting one pupil and fired at others in an attack officials have said was planned.
The victim is in a critical but stable condition.
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said that the suspect - a pupil at the school - had used a shotgun which belonged to his brother.
Surveillance video shows the shooter, whose pockets were stuffed with ammunition, trying to conceal the gun as he nervously entered the school, about 120 miles north of Los Angeles, through a side entrance.
He shot one teenager and tried to shoot a second student but missed. A teacher also suffered a minor pellet wound to the head.
When the shots were fired, teacher Ryan Heber tried to get the more than two dozen students out a back door and engaged the shooter in conversation to distract him.
Campus supervisor Kim Lee Fields responded to a call of shots fired and also began talking to the teen.
Sheriff Youngblood said: "They talked him into putting that shotgun down. He in fact told the teacher, 'I don't want to shoot you,' and named the person that he wanted to shoot.
"The heroics of these two people goes without saying: to stand there and face someone who has a shotgun, who's already discharged it and shot a student, that speaks volumes for these two young men, and what they may have prevented.
"They could have just as easily ...tried to get out of the classroom and left students, and they didn't. They knew not to let him leave the classroom with that shotgun."
The suspect was arrested about 20 minutes after the shooting and the victim was airlifted to hospital in nearby Bakersfield with serious injuries.
Local media reported receiving phone calls from people who were hidden in closets inside the school.
The attack prompted US Vice President Joe Biden to pledge that he would make recommendations on gun control to President Barack Obama in the next five days.
Mr Biden has been meeting groups ranging from victims of gun violence to members of America's powerful gun lobby as the country considers its response to the Newtown school massacre, which left 26 people dead.
"I have committed to him I will have his recommendations to him by Tuesday," Mr Biden said on Thursday, ahead of a meeting with sportsman and hunting organisations.
Mr Biden said the recommendations would be ideas gleaned from the various groups he has been meeting with in recent weeks.
He hinted that his ideas could include new restrictions on high capacity ammunition magazines and more comprehensive background checks for gun buyers.
The Vice President also talked with representatives from the National Rifle Association, which opposes reforms like the reinstatement of an assault weapons ban - and has called for armed guards in all US schools.
After the meeting, NRA officials said the discussion was more about demonising the Second Amendment than about keeping students safe and that they "will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen".
Mr Biden and other White House officials have also met mental health advocates to try to figure out how to make it harder for disturbed people to get firearms.
On Wednesday Mr Biden said Mr Obama may take executive action intended to prevent gun attacks.
Mr Biden's involvement in this task force comes in response to the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where 20 children and six staff members were killed by a 20-year-old gunman.
Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14 after killing his mother, Nancy Lanza, at her home. He later killed himself.
He had taken his mother's guns, including a rifle which fires 20 to 30 rounds at a fast pace.
The AR-15 style rifle Lanza used is America's most popular rifle. It is also the weapon most commonly used in mass shootings in the US and is the same as the one used by the gunman in the cinema shooting in Aurora, Colorado.