ROCKFORD, Washington — The student accused of shooting a classmate to death at a Washington state high school and wounding three others had posted videos online showing him playing with guns, including one where he pretends to hunt for a drug dealer.
Classmates at Freeman High School in the tiny town of Rockford, south of Spokane, knew about the videos. Junior Paul Fricke told The Spokesman-Review newspaper (http://bit.ly/2wazhtH) that “we knew he had an assault rifle, because he uses it in his YouTube videos.”
In one, the suspect and a friend display several guns, including what appear to be airsoft weapons and one actual rifle, and act out a scenario where they search for an imaginary neighborhood drug dealer.
Another student described the suspect as obsessed with previous school shootings.
He was set to make his first appearance in juvenile court in Spokane on Thursday, a day after authorities say he opened fire in a hallway, killing one student and wounding three others before a custodian stopped him.
Witnesses described a panicked scene when shots rang out Wednesday, with bullets hitting the ceiling and students screaming and running down the hallway.
Armed with a pistol and rifle, classmates say the shooter’s face “was passive” when he tried to fire a weapon. It jammed, and another boy confronted him.
“He went to his next weapon,” Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said. “A student walked up to him, engaged him, and that student was shot. That student did not survive.”
A custodian stopped the shooter, a heroic act the sheriff said prevented more bloodshed. The wounded victims were expected to survive.
Authorities didn’t release the suspect’s identity or a possible motive. The victims also were not named.
Besides the videos showing guns, the suspect had brought notes earlier in the school year, saying he was going to do “something stupid” and might get killed or jailed, according to classmate Michael Harper.
Some students alerted counselors, the 15-year-old sophomore told The Associated Press, but it wasn’t clear what school officials did in response. Calls to the school were not returned.
Harper said the shooter had many friends, calling him “nice and funny and weird” and a huge fan of the TV show “Breaking Bad.” He also said the suspect focused on other school shootings.
“He watched a lot of school shooting documentaries,” Harper said.
Luis Prito, an assistant football coach at Freeman High, called the shooting devastating.
“This is a real close-knit community,” he said of the town of about 500 people near the Idaho border.
Classes are canceled at Freeman High School the rest of the week.