Before we get started there are some corrections to be made. Previously I said that two victims had been killed and six injured at the Saugus High School shooting. That was an error on my part. While there were two students killed there were three that were wounded who weren’t the gunman. Also, it had been reported that there was an Instagram account that belonged to the shooter that said: “Saugus, have fun at school tomorrow.” That account did not actually belong to the shooter and was posted by someone else as an ill-conceived prank. Now, onto the updated reports.
The shooter, 16-year-old Nathaniel Berhow, died at the hospital the day after the shooting from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police believe the attack was well planned out as they believe that Berhow counted out his bullets and saved the last one for himself. In 16 seconds, Berhow was able to commence firing the .45 semi-automatic pistol and was able to clear a jam in the gun before it was all over. His father was said to be a known game hunter who kept several guns around the home before his passing in 2017. His father was also said to be an alcoholic who once had the police called on him for a domestic disturbance, however, the police were never called to the home again prior to his death. As someone who grew up in a domestic violence household, that doesn’t mean there weren’t further disturbances.
Speaking of the gun used in the shooting, at last report, police said they’re unaware of how Berhow obtained the weapon and that the gun was not registered. Additional guns that were registered to Berhow’s late father have been seized from the home.
The victims who were killed have been identified as 15-year-old Gracie Anne Muehlberger and 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell. It’s believed that the victims were targeted at random. A GoFundMe has been set up for both Dominic Blackwell and Gracie Anne Muehlberger.
Police are still searching for a motive in the shooting as Berhow did not leave behind any journal or manifesto, like most of his cowardly predecessors. Classmates of Berhow say that he was not bullied and had a girlfriend. However, other classmates said he was not acting like himself in the days prior to the shooting. If you’ll recall, Berhow committed the shooting the day of his 16th birthday. By all accounts, Berhow did not fit the stereotypical description of a school shooter as he was said to have been well-liked. He also ran cross-country and was a member of the Boy Scouts.
I’m not saying that this is 100% the motive behind the shooting but when you live in a home where domestic violence is a regular occurrence, you have to live two lives. The first is the fearful life you have at home where you wonder if this will be the time where someone dies. Then you have your public life where you have to pretend where nothing is wrong at home. These kinds of stressors can lead to well-hidden mental health issues. I’m not saying that this is any way excuses the murder of two innocent children but could explain why it occurred. I’m sure the fact that Berhow grew up around guns owned by an allegedly abusive alcoholic didn’t help matters either. Then again, I could just be projecting.