Report: Father of alleged Spokane school shooter says son knew gun safe combination
The father of the student who allegedly killed one of his classmates and shot three others admitted his son knows the combination to the gun safe at the family’s home, according to court documents obtained by The Spokesman-Review.
Caleb Sharpe, the alleged shooter, had written a suicide note about a week ago, according to the Review.
The court documents also say a school counselor knew Caleb Sharpe was suicidal, the Review reports.
Shooting linked to bullying
Classes throughout the Freeman School District south of Spokane were canceled Thursday after a deadly shooting at the high school on Wednesday morning.
A freshman at the school was there as police say a sophomore armed with a handgun and AR-15 walked down a hall and began shooting.
“He shot one young man and then I crouched down to the floor and then he shot the girl next to me and she fell down. And as everyone was running I could just hear her screaming ‘help me.'”
Fifteen-year-old Sam Strahan, who tried to intervene, was killed.
According to the Review, Strahan told Sharpe before he was killed that he “always knew” Sharpe was going to “shoot up the school.”
Three girls were shot — apparently at random — and are expected to survive.
A janitor tackled Sharpe and held him until cops got there.
The motive, according to Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, is related to a “bullying-type of situation.”
The shooting occurred around 10 a.m. at Freeman High School, which is in the small town of Rockford.
“Today, that student came to school armed,” the sheriff said. “He entered the school. He proceeded to take his weapons out. At that point he attempted to fire one weapon, it jammed. He went to his next weapon. A student walked up to him, engaged him, and that student was shot. That student did not survive. He then fired more rounds down the hallway, striking three more students. And those students are in the hospital right now in serious condition.”
The Spokesman-Review reports that Sam Strahan was shot in the head. The three girls injured were Emma Neese, Jordan Goldsmith and Gracie Jensen. A teacher administered first aid to at least one injured student.
Sheriff Knezovich said that the incident would have been worse if the gun hadn’t jammed.
Police report that the suspected shooter was was “disabled” when they arrived. No officers fired their weapons.
Students describe the suspected shooter
Students at the school tell the Spokesman-Review that the suspected shooter “never really seems like he had issues,” and that he was “nice, funny and weird.”
“He was handing out notes to his friends,” an unidentified student told KXLY News. “And it said that he was going to do something stupid where either it might get him killed or in jail. When I talked to him about it, he said it was just in case if something stupid happens. That was just a couple weeks ago when school started.”
The Spokesman-Review reports that one of these notes was given to a school counselor.
Another student told KXLY that other students didn’t initially believe there was a threat.
“I heard kids saying he had a black duffel bag and he had a gun in there,” the student told the news station. “But they didn’t say anything about it.”
“People thought it was a gun in there and people started joking about it, I guess, from what I hear from underclassmen,” he said. “They weren’t taking it seriously and they were joking around with him and that’s when it happened. He was like, ‘Yeah, I have a gun.’ So he pulled it out.”
“Coach came in and said this is real,” he said of when the gun shots were heard. “We went into the back coach’s room and stayed there for a while until we got escorted out. It was intense in there. We heard a lot of shouting and police running through the halls.”
Parents rushed to the school in the town of about 500 people. The two-lane road into the area was clogged with traffic.
Cheryl Moser told The Spokesman-Review that her son, a freshman, called her from a classroom after hearing shots fired.
“He called me and said, ‘Mom there are gunshots.’ He sounded so scared. I’ve never heard him like that,” Moser told the newspaper. “You never think about something happening like this at a small school.”
Stephanie Lutje commended the school district for its communication with parents.
“It’s been amazing, within probably 15-20 minutes of hearing about it, I’d already received a phone call, I’d already received a text message saying that their school is OK,” she told The Associated Press.
Authorities at the high school gave the all clear at the school just after 11:30 a.m., according to the Spokesman-Review.
Gov. Jay Inslee issued the following statement:
“This morning’s shooting at Freeman High School is heartbreaking. All Washingtonians are thinking of the victims and their families.
“We’re grateful for the service of school staff and first responders working to keep our students safe.”