SANTA CLARITA — A fund drive for the family of Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, the Saugus High School shooter, has been launched on Gofundme.com.
Last Thursday, on his 16th birthday, Berhow pulled a .45 caliber semiautomatic weapon from his backpack and shot five fellow students at the Santa Clarita school, apparently at random. He then shot himself in the head and died the following day at a hospital.
The motive for the shooting rampage was unknown, as Berhow did not leave a suicide note or manifesto. Some who knew him noted that he was troubled by the sudden death of his father in December 2017.
The page, which had raised nearly $30,000 as of Tuesday evening, was established by Tana Risley, a former student at Saugus High School, along with her sister, Brooke Risley, a current student, and their mother, Sherri Risley.
The money will go to Berhow’s mother, Mami Matsuura. He also leaves behind a sister.
The message reads as follows:
“The community of Santa Clarita will be known for coming together with righteous compassion and empathy. So many people have been hurt throughout this tragedy, and some did not get to survive it.
“The family of Nathaniel Berhow had no idea that dropping him off at school on his birthday would lead to such horrific events. This was a seemingly normal child, and this whole event remains a tragic mystery. Why and how could a 16-year-old do this? That’s what everyone is wondering, including Nathaniel’s mother and sister.
“It is times like these that we must band together, not to support the shooter and his actions, but to support his family. If one day your own child came to school and did such horrible things, what would you do? How would you be able to process that?
“Those lost are at peace, looking down on us and leading us to a better tomorrow. They are together with the other Saugus High School students who have passed too soon, our guardian angels.
“We can only pray that Nathaniel’s soul is at peace as well, that the hurt that he felt drove him to do these things has subsided. It is a tragedy in its own way that a 16-year-old child was so mentally distraught that he felt this is what he needed to do to himself and his peers. There are no excuses for his actions, and we are not looking for any. Many will disagree with this fundraiser, but I urge you all to look deep into your hearts and think about his family during this time.
“It is the time to spread love, support, and kindness. Saugus teaches the difference between niceness and kindness. Kindness is unconditional and constant. You are kind even when you don’t need to be, and even when it is not convenient to be.
“To Santa Clarita and the rest of the nation, be kind.
“We are Saugus Strong.”