UPDATE: Police praise teacher for swift response
Jared Michael Padgett, 15, got past home security measures to access weapons
Details of yesterday's school shooting at Reynolds High School are emerging, with officials naming the shooting suspect as Jared Michael Padgett, 15, a Reynolds High School freshman.
During an 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 11, press conference, officials released the latest information on the shooting, saying the investigation was still active and ongoing.
Here's what they know so far.
Padgett arrived at school Tuesday morning, June 10, on the school bus, carrying a guitar case and a duffel bag, said Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson.
Padgett entered the boys' locker room in the building that housed the gymnasium, spending a period of time in the locker room before murdering a fellow student, 14-year-old freshman Emilio Hoffman.
"I want to express my condolences for the families who are grieving the lives of their children," said Reynolds Superintendent Linda Florence. "I want to thank the tremendous efforts of the Reynolds students and staff for their effective handling of yesterday's shooting."
She said the lockdown took place quickly, in a matter of seconds.
Anderson said officials had not established any link between Hoffman and Padgett.
He said teacher Todd Rispler encountered Padgett in the locker room. As he was fleeing, Rispler was grazed by a bullet on his hip. Rispler made his way to the office, where he was able to notify the administration, which then initiated an immediate lockdown.
As the shooter was moving through the main hallway, he encountered officers who were starting to enter from two separate doorways. At that time, he moved into a small restroom.
"We know there was an exchange of gunfire between one of the first responding officers and the shooter," Anderson said. "Based on the autopsy this morning, we do know that the shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound."
"I cannot emphasize enough the role that Mr. Rispler and the responding officers played in saving many, many lives yesterday. Given the weapons and amount of ammunition that the shooter was carrying, the early notification and the initial law enforcement response were critical. Every one of the teachers and students in that school did the exact right thing in a very difficult situation."
Anderson said the shooter used an AR-15 rifle in the attack and carried a semi-automatic handgun that he did not use. Investigators also recovered nine loaded magazines with the capability of holding several hundred rounds and a large knife. Padgett wore a non-ballistic vest used for carrying ammunition and other items and a multi-sport helmet with a camouflage design.
Officials said Padgett obtained the weapons from his family home. The weapons had been secured, but he was still able to get through security measures. They did not discuss a possible motive for the murder.
"Sometimes it may be difficult to understand why we law enforcement and the schools collectively do the planning and lock down drills we do, but yesterday it worked," Anderson said.
"To the parents, we understand there is no greater fear than knowing your child may be in danger and you cannot get to them. We know that some of you had to wait sometimes several hours to reunite with them. It was our priority and that of the school to get the kids out and get them back to you safely. We appreciate your understanding that it was a process that took some time. The support you provided to us and to your children was phenomenal."
Florence said Reynolds High School is a safe environment for students. The school, she said, has two resource officers on site everyday, along with five campus management personnel. She said the school had a robust security system, safety training, drills and a committee.
"This is an extreme event that is going to take weeks for closure," Florence said. "The school is sponsoring a candlelight vigil at Reynolds High School on Tuesday, June 19, in the practice field behind the school."
Anderson noted mental health resources were available again today for students at Reynolds schools and Mt. Hood Community College.
Troutdale Mayor Daoust said there were three vigils last night attended by hundreds if not thousands of people, including Governor John Kitzhaber. He said six churches have notified the city that they are opening their doors to families and students. Daoust said he was continually amazed by his community and proud to be a part of it.
"You should have seen the candles being held up last night in the darkness," Daoust said. "It was overwhelming."