A student who opened fire in the hallway of his Washington State high school Wednesday, killing one classmate and wounding three others, had grown obsessed with school shootings, a friend said.
The suspect, identified by multiple students as Caleb Sharpe, was taken into custody by police and held in juvenile jail, the Spokesman-Review reported.
The shooter brought two weapons to Freeman High School in Rockford on Wednesday, but the first one he tried to fire jammed, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told reporters.
“He went to his next weapon,” Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said. “A student walked up to him, engaged him, and that student was shot. That student did not survive.”
The victim, identified by his uncle as Sam Strahan, was reportedly friends with Sharpe, a student told the Spokesman-Review.
The shooter then went on and unloaded bullets into a second-floor hallway, wounding three others before a school custodian ordered him to surrender, the sheriff said.
Knezovich said the custodian’s courageous act prevented further bloodshed, and a school resource officer arrived shortly after and took the shooter into custody, he added.
Emma Nees, Jordyn Goldsmith, and Gracie Jensen were taken to the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center where they were in stable condition, the Spokesman-Review reported.
Hospital staff said the victims were all in their mid-teens, and one patient was scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday evening.
Teresa Fuller, a spokesperson for the Spokane Police Department, confirmed that the remaining students were accounted for and cleared out of the building after the active shooter alert.
Fifteen-year-old Michael Harper, a friend who described Sharpe as “nice and funny and weird”, told the Associated Press the suspect was obsessed with other school shootings.
Sharpe had also uploaded YouTube videos of himself playing with guns under the username Mongo Walker.
In one video, he can be seen firing an Airsoft gun in a mock execution of his friend. Sharpe also appears to be holding a real rifle at one point.
While Knezovich believes the incident stemmed from “a bullying type situation,” a friend of Sharpe’s told KREM2 he had a tight-knit group of friends.
“He fit in with our group. He could just be himself and none of us would judge him,” he said. “He wanted to be friends with kind of everyone.”
The same friend said the suspect had handed out notes to his friends in the beginning the school year, saying he planned to do something “stupid where he gets killed or put in jail.”
At least one of the notes had been handed over to a school counselor, the friend said.
On Wednesday evening, a vigil took place at a nearby church.
Strahan, who had recently lost his 49-year-old father Scott Strahan earlier this summer, was remembered as a loving brother and son who loved cracking jokes, friends and family told the Spokesman-Review.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a statement after the shooting on Wednesday, writing, “This morning’s shooting at Freeman High School is heartbreaking. All Washingtonians are thinking of the victims and their families.”
Spokane Mayor David Condon also issued a statement saying it was a “terrible day” for the “close-knit community”.
Classes were cancelled for the remainder of the week. Counselors would be on hand to speak to students and their families.
With News Wire Services
With CHRISTOPHER BRENNAN