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Sheriff: Jammed rifle helped school shooting from being even worse

ROCKFORD, Wash. — A sheriff in Eastern Washington says a shooting at a rural high school might have been worse if the suspect’s AR-15 rifle hadn’t jammed.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Thursday that Caleb Sharpe used a handgun to kill a classmate and wound three others after the rifle malfunctioned. The sheriff says the 15-year-old also brought several boxes of ammunition to Freeman High School in the tiny town of Rockford on Wednesday.

Knezovich says Sharpe’s case should be moved out of juvenile court so he can be tried as an adult on premeditated murder charges.

The Associated Press doesn’t typically name juvenile suspects but is doing so because of the severity of the accusations and because Sharpe’s name was released in public documents.

It's not clear when Sharpe will appear in court after a scheduled Thursday hearing was canceled.

Authorities say the 15-year-old suspect had suicidal thoughts.

Court documents released Thursday say Caleb Sharpe told police he had been picked on by the student who was killed but didn't target him specifically. He told officers he wanted to teach "everyone a lesson about what happens when you bully others."

The documents say Sharpe had been in the care of a school counselor for suicidal thoughts and left a suicide note at his home.