Criminal Justice

Shooter who killed teen, injured teacher at Oregon school got his weapons at home, police chief says

He didn’t attack his parents, or kill or wound dozens of victims. But the 15-year-old shooter in an incident that left him and another student dead this week at a suburban Portland, Oregon, high school had one significant factor in common with at least two other iconic school shootings: He reportedly got at least some of the weapons he carried at home.

And, but for immediate, effective response Tuesday by a gym teacher grazed by a bullet and law enforcement officers, the death toll at Reynolds High School from Jared Michael Padgett could have been far worse, said Troutdale’s police chief, Scott Anderson. He praised the teacher, Todd Rispler, for walking, bleeding, to the front office to get a lockdown started after 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman was shot to death in a locker room for no known reason, according to the Los Angeles Times and the Oregonian.

It isn’t clear how Padgett, who rode the bus to school that day, managed to bring into the school without detection a large knife, a semiautomatic handgun, an AR-15 rifle and nine loaded magazines the chief says he had, despite his family’s efforts to secure the weapons they had at home. However, Fox News reports the chief said Padgett was carrying a guitar case and a duffel bag when he exited the school bus.

Padgett, who went into a restroom and shot himself to death when he encountered responding law enforcement officers in a hallway, was also wearing a camouflage helmet and an ammunition vest capable of holding hundreds of bullets at the time of the attack. There was no known connection between Padgett and Hoffman.

The shooting is the first at an Oregon school since 1998, when Kip Kinkel, who is now serving a 111-year prison term, shot over two dozen people at Thurston High School in Springfield, according to a WIVB article relying on Associated Press coverage . Four were slain, including Kinkel’s parents, who were found dead at the family’s home.

However, it is the 74th high school or university shooting throughout the country since December 2012, when Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother at home and then shot to death 20 students and 6 teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. He reportedly obtained his weapons at home.

A Frontline chronology of Kinkel’s life and a Frontline transcript of his confession to police describe the source of weapons in his possession.

Related coverage:

CNN (1998): “Teen jailed after Oregon high school shooting spree”

Oregonian (2013): “Kip Kinkel loses bid for new sentencing hearing in Thurston High shooting”

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