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School Shooter 'Enamored' By Past Shootings Says Spokane County Sheriff

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich briefed reporters on Wednesday's shooting at Freeman High School in front of the courthouse.
Emily Schwing
Northwest News Network
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich briefed reporters on Wednesday's shooting at Freeman High School in front of the courthouse.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect in a shooting at Freeman High School outside Spokane, Washington, that left one student dead and three others injured Wednesday was “obsessed” with school shootings. 

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich wore two loops of powder blue and white ribbon—the school’s colors—pinned to this chest as he briefed reporters in front of the courthouse. He said the 15-year-old suspected gunman got “sucked into a counter culture of violence.” 

“The more social media stuff we dig into—this looks like this kid got enamored by the - the school shooting culture.” Knezovich said. 

According to a court affidavit, student testimony also indicated the 15-year-old “brag[ged] of owning multiple pistols” and offered to show a friend how to make improvised explosive devices out of white gas and various chemicals. 

The evidence didn’t surprise Knezovich. 


“Not at all," he said. "You can find anything on the internet.” 

The affidavit also described the crime scene inside Freeman High School. Numerous cartridge casings consistent with handgun caliber were scattered across the floor of the school's second floor hallway, where the shooting took place.

The high school sophomore identified as the shooter has been charged with one count of first degree murder and three counts of attempted murder in the first degree. 


Knezovich said the suspect’s home was also searched, but did not provide further details. The suspect’s mother reported what a detective called a suicide note inside the house. It was written over a week ago. 

The suspect is detained at a juvenile detention center in Spokane.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.