Blood stains Oregon high school
Gunman kills 1 student; 2 more bodies found at his home
May 21, 1998
Web posted at: 6:14 p.m. EDT (2214 GMT)
SPRINGFIELD, Oregon (CNN) -- A 15-year-old male student, Kipland P. Kinkel, allegedly opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle in an Oregon high school cafeteria Thursday morning, killing one student and wounding 23 others.
Based on the boy's statements to police, investigators went
to his rural home north of Springfield a short time later and
found the bodies of a man and a woman, both shot to death.
Police officials had not confirmed what the relationship was
between the suspected shooter and those two victims.
Eighteen people wounded at Thurston High School were
undergoing treatment at two hospitals in Springfield and
nearby Eugene, hospital officials said. Five others were
treated and released. Eight victims were reported in critical condition.
The suspect, Kipland P. Kinkel, had been expelled Wednesday
after being arrested for bringing a gun to school. District
Attorney Doug Harper said he would be charged as an adult on
aggravated murder and other charges. He will likely face his
first court appearance Friday afternoon, Harper said.
Kinkel was captured after being tackled by another student
when he apparently ran out of ammunition in the rifle and
reached for a handgun. Police said he had taken three weapons
to school, including the .22-caliber rifle, a .22-caliber
handgun and a 9 mm semiautomatic Glock pistol.
Mayor: 'We have to ask some tough questions'
The incident marked the fifth fatal shooting at a U.S. school
in the last nine months, leaving the western Oregon city of
51,000 in a state of shock.
"I think prayer at the present time is the best recourse that
we have. We will get through this, " said Springfield Mayor
Bill Morrisette. "This is not a Springfield problem. This is
a problem of our society, perhaps throughout the world. We do
have to ask ourselves some tough questions."
"I thought it was fake. I had never heard a gun go off."
Stephanie Quimby, Student
President Clinton called Morrisette to offer his condolences.
Speaking at a White House ceremony, Clinton said, "I know
that all Americans are heartbroken by the terrible shooting."
"I would just like to say on behalf of the American people
that our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the
people who were killed and wounded, and with that entire fine
Witness: 'It was like a movie'
The shooting happened about 8 a.m. (11 a.m. EDT), when
students were gathered at the 1,700-pupil high school for an
honors ceremony. Some students later said they initially
thought it was a gag when Kinkel entered the cafeteria
wearing a cream-colored trench coat and hat and allegedly
"I thought it was fake. I had never heard a gun go off," said
Stephanie Quimby, 16. "It was like a movie and you were
there. I felt so calm. I knew it was real when I saw him
point the gun at someone and heard a girl yell, 'Tressa.'"
Wrestling coach Gary Bowden said one of his best wrestlers,
Jake Ryker, despite being shot himself, tackled Kinkel, got
his gun away and held him down.
The scene was described by one witness as "mayhem." Emergency
teams called to the scene set up a triage center at the
school to treat the wounded.
Kinkel arrested Wednesday but not held
Springfield Police Capt. Jerry Smith said Kinkel was arrested
Wednesday on charges of possessing a stolen gun, but was
released into the custody of his parents because "there are
only so many bodies you can hold in jail at a given time."
Student Robbie Johnson, who said he knew Kinkel, said that on
Wednesday, Kinkel "told a couple of people he was probably
going to do something stupid today and get back at the people
who had expelled him."
"He always said that it would be fun to kill someone and do
stuff like that," Johnson said. Other students said Kinkel
had once given a talk in speech class on how to build a bomb.
"I think it's pretty early to determine whether he had any
particular targets," said Smith. "At this time, we have no
evidence of that."
But in the wake of the shooting, Bowden asked the question
that many others in Springfield were asking -- "Any kid who
takes a gun to school -- why he isn't put under observation
for a few weeks is beyond me."
After the shooting, traffic jams clogged streets as concerned
parents rushed to Thurston High. Weeping parents hovered
about outside and expressed disbelief that the suspected
shooter was back in the school the day after being arrested
on a gun violation.
"He told people he was going to do something," one mother
said. "Why they let him out, I can't believe it. Someone
should be feeling pretty guilty."