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HS student charged with attempted murder, kidnapping for hammer attack

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STEILACOOM, Wash. – Charging documents say a 14-year-old Steilacoom High School student repeatedly struck another student in the head with a hammer in the school's auditorium.

Court documents allege this 14-year-old suspect planned to rape his victim, thankfully she was able to get away. The incident has spurred school officials to review their security procedures.

Police say the attack happened last Tuesday in the school’s auditorium and that the suspect had carefully planned his attack.

Due to the suspect being a minor, Q13 News will not identify him by name.

A letter sent home to parents this week from school officials said in part: ‘We are working to ensure a sense of safety and provide emotional support to our students, families and staff.’

The letter continued, insisting officials were, ‘Working hard to review all on-campus safety procedures to make sure nothing like this happens again.’

“I feel like it’s crazy that it’s happened here,” said sophomore Trevon Ownes. “Like, no one ever expected that to happen here.”

Court documents allege the 14-year-old suspect forged a note to pull the victim out of class. From there, police allege the suspect distracted his victim with a cellphone and phony mental health assessment test and then brutally and repeated hit her with a hammer.

Investigators say the suspect told detectives he had long planned the attack and he had no specific animosity toward his victim. He also allegedly considered three other victims.

Detectives say the suspect admitted to having additional weapons in his backpack during the incident which included razor blades attached to a protractor. Court documents say she begged the suspect not to kill her, and she was able to escape. Once out of harm’s way she was able to call for help. That’s when the school was put into lockdown.

The Steilacoom Police chief was eventually able to convince the suspect to drop his weapon and then took him into custody. It’s alleged he told investigators he planned to sexually assault his victim and that he was surprised she had not ‘fell unconscious.’

“It’s pretty scary because I used to talk to him a lot when I was an eighth grader,” said Ownes.

The suspect was allegedly able to keep the auditorium doors closed by using duct tape to jam the lock. He is being held in juvenile detention and charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault and kidnapping. Students say his victim has returned to class this week.

A spokesperson for the Pierce County prosecutor’s office told Q13 News that thanks to a law that went into effect last summer, prosecutors are not allowed to charge a 14-year-old as an adult unless those crimes are either first- or second-degree murder.

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