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Wash. school shooting suspect ‘s family devastated’


(Update: Statement from suspect’s family; court hearing canceled; sheriff says he should be tried as adult)

ROCKFORD, Wash. (AP) – The family of a 15-year-old boy accused of shooting four classmates at a rural high school in Washington state is offering condolences and sympathy to the community.

The family of Caleb Sharpe issued a statement Thursday through their attorney, Bevan Maxey, asking for prayers for all the people involved in the shooting, as well as for privacy.

The statement says Sharpe’s family is “devastated of course by the events that transpired.”

One 15-year-old boy was killed in Wednesday’s shooting at Freeman High School in the tiny town of Rockford, south of Spokane, while three students were wounded and expected to survive.

The county sheriff says the shooting might have been worse if the suspect’s AR-15 rifle hadn’t jammed.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Thursday that Sharpe used a handgun to kill a classmate and wound three others after the rifle malfunctioned. The sheriff says the 15-year-old also brought several boxes of ammunition to school on Wednesday.

Knezovich says Sharpe’s case should be moved out of juvenile court so he can be tried as an adult on premeditated murder charges.

The Associated Press doesn’t typically name juvenile suspects but is doing so because of the severity of the accusations and because Sharpe’s name was released in public documents.

It’s not clear when Sharpe will appear in court after a scheduled Thursday hearing was canceled.

Court documents released Thursday say Sharpe told police he had been picked on by the student who was killed but didn’t target him specifically. He told officers he wanted to teach “everyone a lesson about what happens when you bully others.”

The documents say Sharpe had been in the care of a school counselor for suicidal thoughts and left a suicide note at his home.

Authorities say he took a rifle and a handgun from his father’s gun safe and opened fire at the school, killing one classmate and wounding three others.

The suspect had posted videos online showing him playing with guns.

Students say they knew about the videos. Junior Paul Fricke told The Spokesman-Review newspaper ( ) that “we knew he had an assault rifle, because he uses it in his YouTube videos.”

In one video, the suspect and a friend display several guns, including what appear to be airsoft weapons and one actual rifle. They act out a scenario where they search for a neighborhood drug dealer.

Classes are canceled Thursday and Friday at the school.

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