Rockford, Washington, a community four miles from the Idaho border that hasn’t seen a shooting in recent memory, was the scene of bloodshed and bravery on Wednesday, as a troubled high school sophomore opened fire on four of his classmates, killing one of them.
Here’s what we know now:
The teen gunman got his weapons from his father’s safe
Caleb Sharpe, the alleged perpetrator of the attack at Freeman High School, got a pistol and an assault rifle from his father’s safe, court documents reveal. Sharpe’s father told police that his son knew the combination, according to court records. The boy also told a classmate that his father bought him guns. Sharpe’s mother said he wrote a suicide note last week.
Sharpe brandished assault rifles on YouTube
In a YouTube channel that has since been disabled, Sharpe filmed several videos in the past year that feature him play-acting with rifles and Airsoft guns.
“We knew he had an assault rifle, because he uses it in his YouTube videos,” said Paul Fricke, a Freeman High junior, told the Spokesman-Review.
Sharpe brought a rifle to school in a duffel bag on Wednesday morning, though it’s not clear whether it’s the same rifle from the videos.
Sharpe recently said he was going to “do something stupid”
When school began two weeks ago, Sharpe handed notes to two friends saying that “he was going to do something stupid, where either he gets killed or put in jail,” Michael Harper, a sophomore who said he was a friend of Sharpe’s, told a local reporter. The students who got the notes told a school counselor, according to the same report. (School counselors were also reportedly aware of his suicide note). Harper said Sharpe was obsessed with school shootings, and had been watching documentaries about teenage gunmen. According to court documents, Sharpe opened fire “to teach everyone a lesson about what happens when you bully others.”
Prosecutor wants to try him as an adult
Sharpe killed a friend who tried to stop the rampage
When Sharpe pulled out his guns in a second-floor hallway, Sam Strahan, 15, described by a parent as Sharpe’s best friend, tried to convince the armed teen to stand down.
“I always knew you were going to shoot up the school,” he said to Sharpe, according to court documents. “You know that is going to get you in trouble.”
Sharpe shot Strahan in the stomach and the face, killing him. Strahan’s father died in a car accident less than three months ago — on Father’s Day. A GoFundMe page that had been raising college funds for Sam and his sister has seen donations pour in since the shooting.
Sharpe surrendered to the school custodian
After killing Strahan, Sharpe randomly fired at students, wounding three of them, until he encountered Joe Bowen, a 42-year-old Air Force veteran. Upon spotting the Freeman High custodian, Sharpe dropped his gun and threw up his hands. Bowen stayed with Sharpe until he could be detained by school resource officers, which saved lives, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.