Girl, 15, and Boy, 14, Who Were Tragically Killed in California High School Shooting Identified
The identities of the two students who lost their lives in the Saugus High School shooting on Thursday have been released by authorities.
On Friday, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed to PEOPLE that Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14, were the two victims of the school shooting in Santa Clarita, California.
Both had recently celebrated birthdays, with Muehlberger turning 15 years old last month while Blackwell had turned 14 on Sept. 11.
In a GoFundMe set up for Muehlberger, who was affectionately called “Sweetpea” by her parents Cynthia and Bryan, the teen was remembered for her “vivacious, funny, [and] loyal” personality.
“Our vivacious, funny, loyal, light of our lives, Cinderella, the daughter we always dreamed to have, fiercely strong and lover of all things fashionable – was our best friend,” her parents wrote. “She is going to be missed more than words will ever be able to express.”
Though her parents said they were experiencing “the most unexplainable brokenness” after their daughter’s tragic death, they revealed they were currently having discussions about the best way “to memorialize our baby girl.”
“We deeply appreciate the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, colleagues, our church and the whole Santa Clarita and national communities,” they continued. “We are grieving and navigating this pain moment by moment. Thank you for respecting our privacy at this time.”
In a GoFundMe page set up for Blackwell, the teen was remembered for his “goofy laugh, cheesy smile, and a huge, caring heart.”
“On November 14, 2019, this world lost a bright, shining light,” the page reads. “He was taken from his family and friends in the most senseless of ways. His three brothers will miss their big brother greatly, and his parents’ dreams for him will never be realized. Dominic’s family needs this time to pull together and mourn this unexpected loss.”
“The family wishes to express appreciation for all of the love and support of the community in the aftermath of this tragic event,” the page’s description continues.
A number of Muehlberger and Blackwell’s classmates also made heartfelt tributes to the slain students’ social media.
On Twitter, Blackwell was remembered by one friend for always “making people laugh” and having a “huge smile” on his face.
“Today a lil guy with a big heart lost his life in the Saugus Shooting,” Anthony Martinez wrote. “He was always smiling making people laugh, always positive, he was the sweetest kid ever and such a good kid. We need more people like you long live dominic blackwell, love you #LLDB #santaclaritashooting”
In a separate tweet, Martinez added: “I cant stop thinking about him, I just cant process anything. Not only did I lose my teammate but I lost my brother. This is unreal bro I just wish I can see your huge smile everyday. I love you ugh, peep me and you together in the picture:( #dominicblackwell #saugusstrong”
On Muehlberger’s lone Instagram post, many of her followers left comments memorializing the teen.
“you brought joy to many peoples lives including mine,” wrote one user, while another added “I do know you touched many lives. I’m so sorry for what happened and I wish it didn’t happen.”
“your smile was beautiful and you are so stunning. I’m so sorry your life was cut so short but you will live on,” wrote an Instagram user.
“thank you for the fun and laughter we had throughout the years. i will continue to cherish our memories and hold on to our friendship forever. you will be missed greatly,” added someone else.
Around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, a student opened fire at Saugus High School, killing Muehlberger and Blackwell, as well as wounding three others.
Two girls, aged 14 and 15, remained hospitalized. They are believed to be in fair condition and are expected to be discharged from the hospital soon.
Los Angeles County authorities confirmed at a press conference shortly after the incident that the gunman removed a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol from his backpack and opened fire on the quad, shooting five students. Later, he shot himself in the head.
The shooter, who was identified as 16-year-old Nathaniel Berhow, died Friday.
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Berhow — who friends reportedly called “Nathan” — was a Boy Scout and a member of the track team, online records at Athletic.net show.
Classmates said he was a “good student,” according to CNN, and that he was acting “totally normal” in the days before the shooting.
Thursday was Berhow’s 16th birthday.