The city of Santa Clarita, California still has fresh wounds caused by a fatal shooting at Saugus High School on Thursday morning. Authorities say that a 16-year-old student came to school on that day and shot five of his fellow students — two of them fatally — before turning the gun on himself.
The suspect died of his self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday. According to authorities, his mother was by his side in the hospital when he died.
But while many in Santa Clarita are feeling anger and confusion right now, one resident showed how the healing process might begin.
According to KNX-TV's Craig Fegener, a neighbor of the suspect's mother touched many people by leaving a collection of flowers at the mother's door.
When asked why she did this, the unnamed neighbor said, "I wanted to show the mother that somebody cares. People don't hate her. I don't know how you could... my heart just breaks for her. I don't know what else to say, honestly."
The shooter carried out the attack on his sixteenth birthday, and police are not yet clear about his motive. According to authorities, they have not found any indication that he left behind a diary or manifesto of any kind that would have explained his actions. They are also unsure how he obtained the weapon he used in the shooting. Although there were numerous firearms in the house that were registered to the suspect's late father, the gun used in the shooting was not one of them.
Witnesses to the deadly attack did suggest that the shooter picked his targets at random, rather than targeting specific students.
While the investigation into the attack remains ongoing, and many facts about the reason for the shooting may never be known, it is comforting to know that for some people, the first instinct they have is to help heal their community rather than casting stones.
Editor's note: The original version of this article erroneously stated that the mother died by her son's side, rather than was by her son's side when he died. We regret the error.