2nd Victim Of The Saugus High School Shooting Is Identified
The L.A. County coroner's office has confirmed that Dominic Blackwell, 14, was one of two teens killed in Thursday's shooting at Saugus High School.
Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, was the other teen who was killed when a 16-year-old Saugus High student shot five other students on the Santa Clarita campus before turning the gun on himself.
Three others students were injured. The alleged shooter remains on life support in critical condition Friday, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Before the media reported Dominic's name, the Saugus freshman's fellow students knew he was one of the victims.
Messages about him and the shooting spread quickly over Instagram and Snapchat between friend groups. By the time the vigil started at Santa Clarita's Central Park on the evening of the shooting, the reality that he was gone still hadn't set in.
When asked, Dominic's friends were quick to talk about the kind of person he was.
"Everybody loved him. He would walk up to you and it was just an instant smile," said Samantha Treweak, a freshman at Saugus.
The two had been in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) together. Earlier in the week they'd been training for the competition rifle team by spinning and throwing mock rifles in the air, practicing performance routines.
She said they were always laughing and having fun, and that Dominic thought it was particularly funny when Samantha tried to move the rifle from her right shoulder to her left.
"He would watch me hit my head with the rifle every time and he would crack up," she said. "Now my rifle buddy is gone... I'm going to miss doing that with him."
He was new to ROTC, but clearly dedicated. The camaraderie suited him, said Colonel Chris Bricker, who runs the ROTC program, of which Saugus High School is a part.
"You can tell who's a bright shining star and he was definitely one of them," he said.
Dominic was also described as a kid who liked to play.
"He used to play a lot with his brothers. He had a couple of dogs. He loved his dogs. He liked swimming, too. I remember that," said Joshua Mourthi, who'd known Dominic since they were little.
"I watched him go to his first day of kindergarten," he said.
Dominic's family, Mourthi's family and a third family who lived on the same street would all play together. Bouncing between houses, messing around.
"We used to call our three houses the commune," said Joshua. "Everyone was there and we'd all group together. It was like a second family."
Dominic loved pizza, which Samantha said he couldn't eat without getting it all over his shirt.
And, as multiple people pointed out, he loved Spongebob Squarepants, wearing T-shirts and a backpack with the titular character emblazoned on them.
When the shooting started, he was on friends' minds.
Freshman Samantha Stadtlander was hiding in her classroom when she reached out to him to make sure he was OK.
"I was texting my friends and I asked Dominic how he was and I didn't get an answer. That was really heartbreaking."