06/11/2014

Ore. school shooter had weapons, ammo hidden in guitar case

15-year-old gunman had an assault rifle, handgun and several magazines of ammo hidden in a guitar case and duffel bag when he rode a school bus to the campus

By Gosia Wozniacka
Associated Press

TROUTDALE, Ore. — A 15-year-old gunman at an Oregon high school had an assault rifle, handgun and several magazines of ammunition hidden in a guitar case and duffel bag when he rode a school bus to the campus, police said Wednesday.

The attacker, identified as Jared Michael Padgett, a freshman at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, entered a boys locker room on Tuesday at the gymnasium, where he "murdered a fellow student," police Chief Scott Anderson said.

He also wounded a teacher, who managed to make his way to an office and alert officials. Anderson said the action by teacher Todd Rispler and responding officers likely saved numerous lives.

The shooter later encountered officers in a hallway. After a brief exchange of gunfire, he fled into a restroom and was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

Anderson said no link has been found between the shooter and the student who was killed. No motive was released.

"The shooter obtained the weapons from his family home," Anderson said. "The weapons had been secured, but he defeated the security measures."

Police say the shooting occurred in a gym detached from the main school building, with 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman killed in the boys' locker room.

In the aftermath, the governor called the violence senseless, the Troutdale mayor praised the police response, and the school district superintendent said she had once hoped she could get through her career without a school shooting.

Hoffman was the only teenage boy in his house, said Savannah Venegas, who dated him a year ago, "so (his mother) was very protective of him."

"He was such a good kid, a quiet kid," Venegas said. "He didn't stir up trouble. Just a down-to-earth guy."

Perhaps no school district better reflects the changing face of Oregon than the one in Troutdale. This was not a shooting at a school in the posh suburbs or the inner city. Reynolds High School is harder to categorize.

The school draws from a diverse group, including far-east residents of Portland and agricultural families from the Columbia Gorge.

"This is a tragedy that affects our whole community," Anderson said. "This is not supposed to happen in any school, or to any child."

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