Reynolds High School freshman Jared Michael Padgett carried a guitar case and duffel bag onto his school bus yesterday morning. Arriving at Reynolds' gym building, he went to the boy's locker room, where he pulled an AR-15 rifle, handgun, nine loaded magazines, and a knife from the two cases. He put on what police say was a "non-ballistic vest" and a "multi-sport" camouflage helmet. And moments later, he shot and killed fellow freshman Emilio Hoffman, 14, and injured gym teacher Todd Rispler when confronted.
When 15-year-old Padgett encountered police officers in the building's hallway a short time later, he ducked inside a bathroom and killed himself.
That's the tale that's just emerged, at the latest press conference in yesterday's chilling incident at the Troutdale High School. There's still no indication why Padgett did what he did—whether he'd targeted Hoffman specifically or it was meant to be a more wide-ranging attack. Certainly the hundreds of rounds of ammo, two guns and knife Padgett was carrying suggest the latter. Anderson said cops have not established a connection between Padgett and Hoffman.
"The shooter obtained the weapons from his family home," said Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson. "The weapons had been secured, but he defeated the security measures."
The attack unfolded just after 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Rispler, who was grazed in the hip area, made his way immediately to the school's office to initiate lockdown, and police soon swarmed the large high school's campus.
"I cannot emphasize enough the role that Mr. Rispler and the responding officers played in saving many, many lives yesterday," Anderson said. "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."
The attack may be the Portland-area's first-ever school shooting. It's the first in Oregon since a 1998 attack in Springfield, according to the Associated Press. But on a national scale, it's just another grim reminder of the country's issues with guns and how, more and more, they're finding their way into our schools. Yesterday's murder marked the 74th school shooting incident since the horrific events at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012, according to one group.
And Padgett wasn't even the only Reynolds student with a gun yesterday. Cops patting down the students after the shooting found someone packing a completely unrelated gun. The person police found in Reynolds with a gun wasn't a student, but a Gresham man.