SAU Buzz

School Shooting Kills 1, Injures 3

by Julia O'Conner
Posted on Sep 21, 2017

“I always thought that this as such a great school, and you’d never thing anything like this would happen here. But it definitely can happen anywhere…”

These words were tearfully reported by one community mother after a student opened fire on classmates on September 13 at Freeman High School near Spokane, Washington.

The shooter, who has been identified as 15-year-old Caleb Sharpe, entered the school with at least two weapons in a duffle bag.  The first weapon, a rifle, jammed. This was when another student, sophomore Sam Strahan, approached to attempt to deter the shooter from firing. Strahan was shot in both the midsection and the head and did not survive. Sharpe then opened fire in the hallway, injuring three other students (now named as Emma Neese, Jordan Goldsmith and Gracie Jensen), who are in stable condition. Eventually, one of the school janitors showed up and convinced Sharpe to surrender and get on the ground.  A deputy who had been in a nearby school arrived, disarmed and detained Sharpe.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich is anticipating Sharpe being tried as an adult, NBC News reported. Knezovich also blamed the media for the romanticizing of school shooters, which he believes only encourages more violence. Sharpe’s name, he said, would be remembered more than Strahan’s (his victim’s) name, and that, he says, is a travesty.

Sharpe had recently been showing signs of distress, according to his friends. He had been warning his friends verbally and through passing notes that he was going to end up doing something he would regret. NBC News reported that Sharpe was attempting to teach others a lesson about bullying. Sharpe’s father disclosed that the teen knew how to access the locked guns in his home, and that this is most likely where Sharpe obtained the weapons he brought to Freeman High School, which had run a lockdown drill the day before the shooting.

School was cancelled for the rest of the week for Freeman High, but counselors were made available for those who needed it. The school district has also released tips for parents for how to talk to their children about the events of the shooting. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Sam Strahan’s (whose father passed away in June of this year) family.

It is important for friends to keep an eye out for destructive or suicidal behavior.  One thing friends can do is to observe each other.  If someone seems “off,” check in with them! If a friend decides to open up, be sure to take them seriously, listen and withhold judgement. Do not be afraid to seek support from trusted sources! If people feel overwhelmed, they should remember the five action steps, developed by the #BeThe1To movement: “Ask. Keep them safe. Be there. Help them connect. Follow up.” Tragedies can be prevented if people watch out for warning signs such as: significant changes in behavior (especially if related to an equally significant event), talking about being a burden or having no reason to live, acting recklessly, giving away things that are important to them, and/or experiencing a loss of interest.

If you think a friend is in danger of harming themselves or others, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time for help and other resources.