Student opens fire at Spokane-area high school, killing 1 and wounding 3 others

One student was killed and three others were wounded when a fellow student described as obsessed with school shootings opened fire Wednesday morning at Freeman High School near Spokane, Wash., authorities said.

According to Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, the shooter tried to fire one gun, which jammed. He drew a second weapon and shot and killed a student who was trying to stop him. The shooter then moved down the school hallway, firing away and striking three other students.

The sheriff said the shooter, now being held in a juvenile detention facility, was stopped and held by a “very courageous” school staff member.

The shooter’s apparent motivation was his being bullied by school mates, Knezovich said.

Classes had just begun around 10 a.m. — a “late start” day at the school — when the shooting began. Students ran for cover, and some were led to safety at nearby elementary and middle schools.

One student, in a tweet that included a picture of fellow students sitting on a classroom floor, said: “At Freeman elementary currently. I am a junior, evacuated from the high school. At least four shots.”

It appeared the gunman acted alone, but all Spokane public schools, the Central Valley School District and the Mead District were placed on lockdown. After the shooter was taken into custody and classrooms were searched at the 327-student high school, Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer announced: “The threat from the shooter has been eliminated.”

Parents began showing up quickly at the school in the small suburban town of Rockford, near the Idaho border, where police and emergency units filled the streets.

Authorities did not identify the suspected shooter or detail the bullying they said led to the attack. But according to Michael Harper, a 15-year-old sophomore quoted by the Associated Press, the suspect had been obsessed with school shootings.

Michael told the AP that some students alerted school counselors after the suspect brought notes to campus at the beginning of the year saying he might get killed or jailed. Michael said that, as far as he knew, the suspect was not bullied and had many friends.

The names of the students shot were not released.

Two were taken by ambulance and one by helicopter to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Spokane.

Hospital staff described the teenagers as “doing well,” but did not release their ages or describe the nature of their injuries.

Gov. Jay Inslee called the shooting “heartbreaking” and said he was “grateful for the service of school staff and first responders working to keep our students safe.”

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit group that seeks to reduce gun violence, the attack at Freeman High was the 31st school shooting in 2017.

Anderson is a special correspondent.


UPDATES:

5:55 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Ozzie Knevovich on the motive behind the shooting.

3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Michael Harper, as reported by the Associated Press.

1:30 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details and a comment from Brian Schaeffer.

12:25 p.m.: This article was updated with confirmation that the person killed was a student and with a comment from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

11:53 a.m.: This article was updated with a casualty toll of one killed and three injured.

11:35 a.m.: This article was updated with officials reporting multiple injuries, and that the threat has been "eliminated.”

This article was originally published at 10:55 a.m.

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