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Simi Valley school mourns death of staff member

August 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Grief counselors were on campus at Santa Susana High School Monday as students and school personnel tried to deal with the murder of a staff member. Police say she was murdered by her own son. The son was later shot by police.

Just as flowers brighten a day, 67-year-old Sally Carnan was a bright spot at Santa Susana High School for many of the students and teachers.

"She touched everyone's life in one way or another," said Santa Susana High School teacher Melissa Albertson.

For a number of years Mrs. Carnan, as she was known to students, took attendance but on Monday it was her absence that was felt.

"Santa Susana, being such a small school, a tight-knit community, everybody knew each other. The staff probably know almost every student by name so losing somebody like this is quite tragic," said Santa Susana High School Superintendent Ron Todo.

Police say Carnan's 29-year-old son Ryan allegedly killed her in their house on Saturday before setting it on fire. He then, armed with a handgun, left on a tractor and began targeting innocent bystanders.

"He actively shot at passerby on a bicycle," said Simi Valley police Cmdr. Stephanie Shannon.

Fortunately, he missed but continued shooting as he rode through the neighborhood and opened fire on police before they shot and killed him.

The motive for the murder remains unknown. Detectives are working to identify how Ryan came into contact with the weapon he used in the rampage.

It remains unclear how the suspect allegedly killed his mother and what led up to the chain of events that unfolded. But what is already clear is how much she will be missed.

"This is going to be tough all around, I kind of prepared for that yesterday, you know, after I heard the news," said Albertson.

Ryan was an Army veteran who had been stationed in Korea in the past and was now living with his mother at her house. Police said they were called to the family's home for mental health-related calls three times in the past few years but that there was never any kind of violence documented.

The investigation remains ongoing.


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