Freeman High School reopens after 1 killed, 3 wounded
ROCKFORD, Wash. — Students who ran in fear last week from a Washington state high school where a shooting left one dead and three wounded returned on Monday, with a counselor present in in every classroom.
Retired teachers also showed up to offer support and help at the rural Freeman High School in the town of Rockford, population about 500, in eastern Washington state near the state line with Idaho. Many parents accompanied their children to school at the urging of Randy Russell, the school district’s superintendent.
The school’s reopening came after authorities said 15-year-old Caleb Sharpe last Wednesday brought a handgun and an assault rifle to school in a duffel bag he had carried onto his high school bus, according to court documents.
The assault rifle jammed when he tried to load it and he pulled out a pistol and shot the 15-year-old classmate in the abdomen and in the face, the documents said. He then walked down a hallway, firing at or into the ceiling and wounding three female students. Sharpe told police that he had been bullied by the boy who died but did not target him specifically.
The Spokesman-Review newspaper reported over the weekend that Sharpe had been suspended for bringing threatening notes to school and that the shooting happened on the first day he had returned.
Russell told the newspaper that the district followed protocol by suspending the student and sending him for a mental evaluation.
Sharpe faces a charge of first-degree murder, and might be tried as an adult.
Documents and his classmates said Sharpe brought notes to school about doing “something stupid,” was obsessed with past school shootings and posted videos online that showed him playing with guns.
Sharpe, a sophomore, also had been meeting with a school counselor over suicidal thoughts and had left a suicide note at home for his parents before the shooting, an investigator for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office wrote in an affidavit.
Sharpe has been in custody since the shootings and faces a Sept. 26 court appearance.
His family last week issued a statement expressing condolences and asking for prayers for the victims and their relatives.
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.