Eastern Washington community shaken by school shooting: ‘It was heartbreaking’

SPOKANE, Wash. — People from across Eastern Washington held candlelight and prayer vigils Wednesday night for the student who was killed and the three others who were seriously wounded by a lone gunman at Freeman High School in Rockford earlier in the day.

Fifteen days after the first day of school, students are looking for answers.

The shooting, allegedly by a fellow classmate, was so senseless to those who live and go to school in this quite Palouse community surrounded by rolling wheat fields.

“There was so much blood,” one student said.

"It's the toughest day I can ever remember ... waking up and going through. I came home and there was nothing that could stop the emotions," said Freeman High School junior Dylan Oja.

Another junior, William Solsom, said, "You wouldn't really expect something to happen at a school like this."

Many of the emergency crews were responding to an active shooter at their own children's school.

"It was heartbreaking to hear that someone had died," Solsom said. "He just brightened up everyone's day. He was really likable."

A sign reading "Freeman Strong" was placed feet from the school by Brani Gore.

"We know those teachers, we know those kids, we know the staff ... we see them every day, multiple times a day," she said. "And it really hits home."

Students came into the Freeman store Wednesday in tears, but vow to return to school even stronger once it reopens.