A student opened fire at Freeman High School near Spokane, Washington, this morning, killing one student and wounding three others, police said.
The suspect was arrested at the scene. “The shooter is in the back seat of a patrol car right now,” Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said at a press briefing.
Knezovich said the student killed in the rampage is believed to have confronted the gunman when he was shot. The sheriff added that one of the two firearms the shooter was carrying jammed before he could fire additional rounds. A school staff member reportedly detained the suspect until deputies arrived.
The shots rang out shortly after 10 a.m. High school students were evacuated to the football field and to an elementary school down the street, which along with a nearby middle school were placed on precautionary lockdown.
Deputies assembled parents in the high school’s parking lot, where they waited anxiously for their children, the Spokesman-Review reported.
A Twitter user claiming to be a junior at Freeman High tweeted that she heard “at least four shots,” and shared a photo of her classmates huddled together on the floor of a classroom at the elementary school.
At Freeman elementary currently. I am a junior, evacuated from the high school. At least 4 shots. pic.twitter.com/RnGbbbahbK
— Christina✌🏽 (@TheChristinaXX) September 13, 2017
Elisa Vigil, 14, told Spokesman-Review reporter Jonathan Glover that the shooting unfolded in the freshman hallway on the second floor of the high school. She said the gunman wielded a pistol and a rifle, and had a “completely passive” look on his face when he opened fire. Vigil said she saw him shoot a girl in the back and a boy in the head.
“I thought I was going to be shot, because the girl right next to me was shot,” she said.
The parent of a Freeman High freshman said her son called her in a panic after hearing several gunshots. “He sounded so scared,” she told the Spokesman-Review. “I’ve never heard him like that.”
According to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, Wednesday’s school shooting is the first in the town of Rockford, where Freeman High School is located, since at least 2014.
The mother of two students at the nearby middle school told the paper that the high school had staged a lockdown drill just the day before. She was puzzled when she pulled up to the school and saw students running across the school grounds.
“I thought it was weird,” she told the paper, “because they wouldn’t do (a drill) two days in a row.”