Police: 15-year-old Reynolds HS shooter was armed with assault rifle

Police: 15-year-old Reynolds HS shooter was armed with assault rifle »Play Video
Jared Michael Padgett

TROUTDALE, Ore. – Police say a 15-year-old Reynolds High School freshman was armed with an assault rifle and other weapons when he killed a fellow student and shot and wounded a teacher Tuesday morning.

Troutdale Police on Wednesday identified the shooter as Jared Michael Padgett. An autopsy confirmed he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Investigators said Padgett rode a school bus to Reynolds High School on Tuesday with a guitar case and a duffel bag containing an assault rifle that police said was similar to an AR-15, and nine loaded magazines capable of holding hundreds of rounds.

Padgett entered the boy’s locker room when he arrived at school, where he murdered 14-year-old freshman Emilio Hoffman, police said. The locker room and gym are detached from the main school building.

>>Map of Reynolds High School

Investigators have not established a link between Padgett and Hoffman. And they have not released a motive for the shooting.

Physical education teacher Todd Rispler encountered Padgett in the locker room and was shot in the hip while running to the school office. Investigators said Rispler made it to the office and started the process of locking down the school.

“I cannot emphasize enough the role that Mr. Rispler and the responding officers played in saving many, many lives yesterday,” said Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson. “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.”

Padgett moved into the school hallway, where police said he encountered officers who had entered the building. Padgett went into a restroom. At some point, there was an exchange of gunfire between Padgett and the two officers, police said. Neither of the officers was hit.

Police from multiple agencies responded to a report of an active shooter at Reynolds High School just after 8 a.m. A SWAT team and FBI agents also arrived at the school.

Police said Padgett was also armed with a semi-automatic handgun and a knife. He did not use either of those weapons during the attack.

Padgett obtained the weapons from his family’s home, according to police.

“The weapons had been secured, but he defeated the security measures,” Anderson said.

Padgett was wearing a vest used to carry ammunition and other items, Anderson said. He was also wearing a helmet with a camouflage design.

Anderson said it would be "inappropriate" to discuss a possible motive for the murder at this time.

Students were evacuated from Reynolds High School and taken by bus to a Fred Meyer parking lot where they were reunited with their families.

During the evacuation, police searched students for weapons as they left the school. Joseff Powell, 21, was in the area of the school and searched by police. They found a handgun and arrested Powell for unlawful possession of a firearm. The arrest was unrelated to the shooting, according to police.

Love of guns

One student who had a science class with Padgett told KATU that about a month ago they were assigned to build wooden cars. The student said Padgett built his car to look like a bullet.

On Facebook Padgett was apparently a big fan of guns. His "Likes" included assault rifles, gun and body armor companies as well as gun and military-oriented pictures.

A comment he left on one picture asks about buying 1,000 rounds of ammo last summer and a comment about reloading his own bullet shells.

He also "Liked" a picture labeled as a journalist's guide to firearms identification.

Students said Padgett was in the school's Junior ROTC program.

Multnomah County sheriff's deputies were parked outside his home Wednesday afternoon, offering protection for Padgett's family.

Earl Milliron said he was deacon for the Padgett family at their local LDS church ward. He says he saw Jared Padgett just last Sunday, and there were no signs he might be troubled.

"He was always, always active and was a very quiet boy," said Milliron. "But never an ounce of problems with him at any time. There was nothing that indicated this, that this was in the offing at all."

KATU On Your Side Investigators Joe Douglass, Bob Heye and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Media briefing on the shooting at 11:15 a.m.