The Oregon high school shooter who killed a student and wounded a teacher before killing himself was a 15-year-old freshman who had taken a rifle and a handgun from his family’s home to carry out the attack, police said Wednesday.
No motive has been given for the shooting.
On what was the second-to-last day of school, Jared Michael Padgett arrived at Reynolds High School by bus Tuesday morning carrying a duffel bag and a guitar case, Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson said at a news conference.
Little did anyone know, Padgett was heavily armed: He had an AR-15 rifle, a semiautomatic handgun, a large knife, a camouflage helmet, an ammunition vest and nine loaded magazines carrying hundreds of rounds of ammunition, police said.
At his family’s home, “the weapons had been secured, but he defeated the security measures,” Anderson said, not specifying how.
One student who saw Padgett before the shooting recalled later on Facebook that after Padgett got off the bus, he looked “really mad.”
Police said Padgett went into the locker room in the school’s gym, where he then fatally shot 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman, who was a soccer player and a fellow freshman at the school. Police haven’t been able to find a link between the pair.
Padgett also grazed teacher Todd Rispler in the hip, police said. Rispler was able to escape and was able to walk, bleeding, to the school’s front office to enact a lockdown, and there sheltered in place with nervous staffers and students as police closed in.
Padgett, wearing the camouflage helmet and the ammunition vest, then stalked through the school’s main hallway before encountering officers entering through two separate doorways, police said.
After Padgett and one of the officers exchanged gunfire, he ducked into a small restroom where he killed himself, police said, citing an autopsy that was completed Wednesday morning.
“I cannot emphasize enough the role that Mr. Rispler and the responding officers played in saving many, many lives yesterday,” Anderson told reporters.
“Given the weapons and amount of ammunition that the shooter was carrying, the early notification and the initial law enforcement response were critical,” Anderson continued. “Every one of the teachers and students in that school did the exact right thing in a very difficult situation.”
It was quickly revealed that the victim was Emilio Hoffman -- prompting an outpouring of grief from classmates who knew him and even those who didn’t. But for the rest of the day Tuesday, students puzzled over the identity of the attacker, which had not yet been released.
On Facebook, one of Padgett’s friends posted a selfie he had taken flexing in the bathroom mirror, asking, “Has anyone seen him today at all if so [hit me up],” adding that his family couldn’t find him.
After his identity was confirmed during the autopsy and revealed Wednesday morning, the students were shocked. “Wow this is really depressing,” one wrote. Another added, “I can’t believe it was him I’ve known him sense first grade.”
Others were angered. “I knew you jared we talked I had class with you and you took emilio away from me... How could you be so senseless how could you do that,” tweeted one student who knew both boys. “What were you on....you had to be on something you seemed like such a nice kid.”
When asked if she knew of a reason Jared would shoot Emilio, the student told the Los Angeles Times, “Not at all. They were both good kids. It’s so shocking to me.”
Padgett’s Facebook page claimed he was in the U.S. Army before it was quickly scrubbed after his identity was released; he had “liked” shoot-em-up and adventure video games and pages related to the military. His profile picture was another selfie of him looking muscled in a sleeveless shirt, with him wearing fingerless tactical gloves.
On Twitter, another student expressed shock at the size of Padgett’s arsenal: “this could of been a ... massacre. Thank god it wasn’t.”
Emilio Hoffman’s family, in a statement released through police requesting privacy, called their son “a great kid loved by all.”
The shooting also prompted several vigils Tuesday night, with another planned for next week on a practice field behind the school.
“We had three candlelight vigils last night, attended by hundreds if not thousands of people,” Troutdale Mayor Doug Daoust told reporters Wednesday. “You should have seen the candles being help up high last night, in the darkness. It was overwhelming. Thank you for sharing this with the rest of the world.”