News

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trump threatens to 'totally destroy' North Korea, new details in Freeman school shooting, morning headlines

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 9:23 AM


ON INLANDER.COM


NEWS: There's a new undersheriff in town; he's already been behind many innovations within the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

NEWS: With few other options for health care, homeless people can now turn to the newly expanded Providence House of Charity clinic.


IN OTHER NEWS
Trump: Harsh words for North Korea's "Rocket Man" at the United Nations.
  • Trump: Harsh words for North Korea's "Rocket Man" at the United Nations.

Freeman school shooting
Accused Freeman school shooter Caleb Sharpe drew an "X" over some student pictures in his yearbook, investigators say. Meanwhile, Freeman High School reopened Monday for the first time since Wednesday morning's shooting. (Spokesman-Review)

Trump threatens North Korea
This morning, in a speech to the United Nations, President Trump said that "we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies. He then proceeded to call North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "Rocket Man," asserting that Kim is on a "suicide mission for himself." (New York Times)

They call the wind Maria
Category 5 Hurricane Maria is storming through the Caribbean, last night pounding the small island of Dominica. With sustained winds of 160 mph, it's headed toward islands already wrecked by Hurricane Irma. (Associated Press)

Nazi knocked out
A video that's gone viral on social media shows a man wearing a swastika armband getting punched in the face and knocked out in downtown Seattle. Police responded, but said there is no investigation underway, as no one reported a crime. (Seattle Times)
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Monday, September 18, 2017

Cheney pot shop employee found dead, turmoil continues in St. Louis, and morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 9:29 AM


ON INLANDER.COM


Freeman High shooting examined
After last Wednesday's tragic shooting at Freeman High School, in which one student was killed and three were injured by gunfire:

• A WSU psychologist spoke with the Inlander about recognizing warning signs and supporting teens through complex emotions.
• A Freeman alum reflects on her time growing up in the community and how she thinks people should respond to these acts of violence.
• Legal experts discuss possible outcomes for the shooter, who could face a significantly longer prison term if tried as an adult.
• News emerged Friday that while one mom left her car on the highway to run and see if her child was OK, someone stole her purse from the car, then went on a shopping spree to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

Other news sources on Freeman:

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• The shooting took place on the shooter's first day back to school after being suspended. After passing notes to fellow students that caused concern, a counselor and the school told the shooter's parents, and suspended him until he was cleared by a mental health evaluation, the Spokesman-Review's Thomas Clouse reports.
• KXLY reports that the mother of Sam Strahan, the student killed during the shooting, issued a formal statement, thanking the community for support and privacy, and saying, "This could have been prevented!"


IN OTHER NEWS

Body of kidnapped Cheney man found; community plans memorial
Cameron Smith, the Cheney pot shop employee who was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint last weekend, has been found dead, and his community is mourning, reports the Spokesman-Review's Nina Culver.

Turmoil in St. Louis

Protests continued throughout the weekend in St. Louis after a white officer was acquitted of murder charges in a 2011 shooting death of a black man. Officers made more than 80 arrests Sunday night, and reportedly shouted "Whose streets? Our streets!" a chant more commonly used by protesters. (CNN, Washington Post)

Dreamers explore option of going back to Mexico
In Seattle, young people brought to the U.S. by parents when they were children heard from the Mexican consulate that they will be welcomed by Mexican businesses who could use their high level of education and English-speaking skills, the Seattle Times' Nina Shapiro reports. But many of the "Dreamers" question what that would really look like.

Nepotism in Oregon legislature
The Oregonian reports that a quarter of legislators in Oregon hire their family members to work in their offices on the taxpayer's dime.
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Friday, September 15, 2017

Mother of Freeman student had purse stolen from car while she ran to see if child was alive or dead

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 1:06 PM


Some asshole (or assholes) stole a purse from a Freeman High School mother as she ran to the school, wondering whether her children were alive or dead. The criminal(s) have since racked up $36,000 in fraudulently cashed checks and credit card charges, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Suspect in theft from Freeman parent's vehicle - SPOKANE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE PHOTO
  • Spokane County Sheriff's Office photo
  • Suspect in theft from Freeman parent's vehicle

As word of the deadly shooting spread Wednesday morning, parents descended frantically on the south Spokane County school to pick up their kids. Traffic jammed, and many abandoned their vehicles on Highway 27.
Suspect in theft from Freeman parent's vehicle - SPOKANE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE PHOTO
  • Spokane County Sheriff's Office photo
  • Suspect in theft from Freeman parent's vehicle

Sometime between 10:30 am and noon — before many parents knew whether their kids were safe — someone snatched the purse from one of the abandoned vehicles parked along the highway, a news release from the sheriff's office says.

"Property crimes themselves are typically hard for victims to deal with, especially when identity theft and fraud are involved," a news release from the Sheriff's Office says. "But the fact that these criminals took advantage of such a tragic situation is particularly heinous."

Anyone with information about this crime should call Sheriff's Office Det. Dean Meyer at 509-477-3159.

This story is developing and will be updated.


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What the Freeman High School shooter could face if he is tried as an adult

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 11:31 AM


The 15-year-old Spokane County boy who shot and killed one classmate and injured three others Wednesday morning at Freeman High School is charged with first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder. The question now is whether he will stand trial in juvenile court or will face the accusations as an adult.

If convicted as a juvenile, attorneys say the boy 
3d_judges_gavel.jpg
would be released by the time he's 21 years old — a six-year sentence. As an adult, a conviction could put him away for at least 20 years.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said during a press conference Thursday afternoon that his office will push to "try him as an adult for pre-meditated murder."

"This young man got sucked into a counterculture of violence," Knezovich says. "A culture that's enamored with school shootings."

Ultimately, it's up to prosecutors whether to charge the accused shooter, Caleb Sharpe, in juvenile or adult court. Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell did not immediately respond to emailed questions about the case.

But local defense attorney Bevan Maxey, who is representing Sharpe, believes that prosecutors will try to have the case moved to adult court. "However, that hearing won't be for a considerable period of time," Maxey says.

From there, it's up to a judge. And there are many factors to consider.


THE PROCESS

For 16- and 17-year-olds charged with "serious, violent" crimes in Washington state, prosecutors can move the case to adult court without a judge's approval. But for kids 15 and younger, the state must ask for the case to be moved to adult court, and a judge will decide.

That hearing is similar to a "mini trial," says Spokane County public defender Megan Manlove, who works in juvenile court, but is not representing the accused Freeman High shooter.

"It's a lot of preparation, and typically each side will retain experts," she says. "Sometimes those hearings can last two days."

Continue reading »

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A WSU psychologist talks about how schools can identify and help potential school shooters

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 10:13 AM


Weeks ago, a sophomore at Freeman High School passed a note 
Dr. Chris Barry, Washington State University associate professor of psychology - COURTESY WSU
  • Courtesy WSU
  • Dr. Chris Barry, Washington State University associate professor of psychology
to friends indicating that he planned to do "something stupid," according to multiple news reports. According to court documents, a week ago, he wrote a suicide note, and he was seeing a school counselor for suicidal ideations.

On Wednesday morning, that same student, sophomore Caleb Sharpe, allegedly walked into Freeman High School with two guns and shot four students, killing one, another Freeman sophomore named Sam Strahan.

The tragedy raises a critical question for school officials and parents: How do you recognize the warning signs that could lead to a school shooting?

It hasn't yet been reported what, exactly, officials at Freeman High School knew about Sharpe's plans, or what the school tried to do to prevent them. (Freeman High School officials did not respond to Inlander requests for comment). But Chris Barry, a Washington State University associate psychology professor specializing in behavioral disorders of children and adolescents, says that there are a few steps schools can take, generally, to prevent kids from acting on violent threats.

The steps are relatively clear for certain threats, Barry says. If a student is threatening harm to themselves, Barry says schools should provide immediate attention, including counseling. If it's a threat to harm others, school officials have a duty to report to law enforcement.

It's trickier if the threat isn't against a specific person.

"It gets really murky if it's a vague threat about, 'I hate this school, I can just blow it up,'" Barry says.

At that point, the school should involve parents who can judge the seriousness of the threat. There other ways to tell if a student is serious or not. For example, if a student is more specific in how to carry out a plan, then it's cause for concern.

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Freeman High shooting, North Korea launches missile, Cassini's mission ends, morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 9:37 AM


FREEMAN HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING

freeman_high_school.jpg
As everyone in the Freeman community and beyond looks for answers, thousands gather inside the school for the first time since the deadly shooting. "You have to be looking out for each other," Freeman School District Superintendent Randy Russell said to the students. "You have to be keeping an eye on each other." (KXLY)

A WSU psychologist talks about how schools can identify and help potential school shooters. (Inlander)

Were warning signs missed?
The accused shooter was reportedly fascinated with school shootings and guns, he handed notes to friends saying he was going to "do something stupid," and left a suicide note for his parents. (Spokesman-Review)

Others remember the accused shooter as a "nice, nerdy kid" who loved to act. He played the Cowardly Lion in a school musical performance of the Wizard of Oz. (Inlander)

The accused shooter told police that wanted to "teach everyone a lesson about what happens when you bully others." But experts say that explanation is too simplistic. (Spokesman-Review)

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says a culture that glorifies gangs and violence, an underfunded mental health system and the media are to blame. (Spokesman-Review)

How the Washington state legislature has tried to reduce gun violence. (Inlander)


ON INLANDER.COM

• Meet Spokane County's newest undersheriff — the man behind many of the innovations in the Sheriff's Office.

• If you were planning to see Method Man (of the Wu-Tang Clan) at the Knitting Factory tonight, you'd better find something else to do. The Long Island rapper postponed his show, rescheduling for Dec. 14, when Redman might join him.

• A new health clinic will provide much needed healthcare for homeless people in Spokane.


IN OTHER NEWS

• North Korea launched a missile over Japan yesterday, just days after the United Nations Security Council cranked up sanctions. The missile fell into the Pacific Ocean, but traveled far enough that it could have reached the U.S. territory of Guam. (BBC)

• NASA's 20-year mission to study Saturn ended with the Cassini spacecraft's planned crash into the planet. (Washington Post, NASA) The end of the mission is bittersweet for the scientists who've studied the trove of data Cassini sent back to Earth. (Fast Company)

• An explosion in a London train tunnel this morning left at least 22 people hospitalized. No deaths have been reported so far in what's being called a terrorist attack. (New York Times)
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Classmates remember alleged shooter as 'Cowardly Lion' from school musical, not as a monster

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 3:50 PM

freeman_high_school.jpg

So much of it simply didn't make any sense. And no explanation could help Masha Stuart and Elisa Vigil, two Freeman High School freshmen, reconcile yesterday's reality with everything they had known before.

The pair went to a candlelight vigil last night at River Park Square, surrounded by hundreds of mourners all trying to make sense of how the boy, known to the two girls as "a nice, nerdy kid," could shoot to death one student and injure three others at Freeman High.

Both girls got to know the accused shooter, Caleb Sharpe, while producing two school musicals: The Wizard of Oz and Rapunzel.

Sharpe played the Cowardly Lion and Rapunzel's prince, Stuart says. Yesterday, she scrolled through the nasty comments that had piled up on Sharpe's social media accounts, but they don't reflect the boy she knew.

"Can I just say something?" she asks, tears welling in her eyes. "Online, I've been seeing everyone saying really awful things about him. I don't really think he was that bad of a person. He was just going through a lot of stuff, and he took his anger out on the wrong people. He gave out notes to people to try and let them know, and no one did anything. It wasn't a case of bullying or anything. His best friend moved away about a year before, and he just went downhill."

The comments, in Vigil's opinion, "just dehumanized" Sharpe. The videos he posted to YouTube, which have since been deleted, show a goofy young man acting out scenes with friends. In many of the videos, Sharpe wields fake guns. He fires them at his friends, and they shoot back at him as they act out scenes.

In the other video, Sharpe teaches viewers how to make fake blood like they do in the movies — something he learned at theater camp, he says in the video.

Neither of the girls excuse Sharpe's decision. They know the wounded victims, identified as Emma Nees, Jordyn Goldsmith and Gracie Jensen, as well as Sam Strahan, who was killed.

"He was in my sixth-period math," Stuart says of Strahan. "He was a really funny guy. Everyone liked him."

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How the Washington state legislature has tried to reduce gun violence

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 2:04 PM

In his 2013 inaugural address, Gov. Jay Inslee referenced the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, calling for a solution to gun violence that would likely "involve mental health and keeping guns out of the wrong hands, while respecting the right of my son to hunt and my uncle to defend his home." - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • In his 2013 inaugural address, Gov. Jay Inslee referenced the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, calling for a solution to gun violence that would likely "involve mental health and keeping guns out of the wrong hands, while respecting the right of my son to hunt and my uncle to defend his home."

Washington state Rep. Laurie Jinkins, a public health official from Tacoma, has spent much of her career talking about gun violence, gun safety and gun regulations.

But yesterday, contacted by the Inlander in the aftermath of the Freeman High School shooting that killed one student and injured three, she was wary of talking about it all. She wants to be sensitive. Nobody wants to be accused of trying to use tragedy for political gain, especially when the details are still unclear and developing.

So even fervent supporters of restrictions on firearms, like Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, used yesterday to mourn the loss of life, praise the heroism of the students and staff who stood up to the shooter, and offer their support for those affected. Few brought up gun control.

But Jinkins is also torn regarding how to react in situations like these. She says she's stopped sending out generic Facebook messages offering "thoughts and prayers" after tragedies like what happened yesterday.

"Sending out notes that say, 'This is tragic, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family,' to me that’s not enough. How many more kids are we going to let be murdered in our communities ... and say our thoughts and prayers are with the family?" Jinkins says. "I find it kind of abhorrent for that to be the response... I don’t think that’s a defendable place to be."

Instead, as chair of the state House's Judiciary Committee, Jinkins has tried to push for measures to prevent gun violence.

"For me, as a policy maker, if I want to make sure more kids don’t die, my focus is mostly to try to do that," she says.

Compared to other states, gun violence is relatively low in Washington — in 2015, we were tied for 14th among states with the lowest firearm mortality rates. But Jinkins and other legislators have been trying to reduce that figure even further.

Just this year, the Washington state legislature passed a bill that requires gun dealers to notify the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs whenever anyone tries to buy a gun and fails a background check, which then goes into a state database. The law also enables the association to start a grant program that lets local law enforcement investigate people who try to buy guns they're not allowed to have.

“This will not just keep guns out of the hands of those who are not eligible to have them, but keep the public and our law enforcement officers safe,” Inslee said.

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Deadly school shooting rocks Spokane County, Trump veers left on DACA, morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 9:53 AM

Freeman High School was the target of a school shooting yesterday, leaving one student dead and three injured.
  • Freeman High School was the target of a school shooting yesterday, leaving one student dead and three injured.

ON INLANDER.COM

It can happen here
A school shooter attacks at Freeman High School in the south Spokane County town of Rockford. One student was killed, and three others were injured.

Tragic hero

Freeman High School sophomore Sam Strahan, the student who was shot and killed, tried to stop his classmate from firing the gun.


IN OTHER NEWS

The parents who wait in fear

The Spokesman-Review's Shawn Vestal wrote this heartbreaking column about parents waiting for the news of their children's safety after the school shooting.

What the witnesses saw
Teenagers saw and heard their classmates being shot at Freeman High School. (Spokesman-Review)

What the wounded victims' friends say
Friends speak out about the three teenage girls who were wounded. (Spokesman-Review)

Tragedy follows tragedy
The Freeman High School student who was killed by his classmate just lost his father weeks ago. (Spokesman-Review)

Playing with guns
The accused school shooter, sophomore Caleb Sharpe, filmed YouTube clips pretending to use guns to shoot people. (Spokesman-Review)

DACA, deals and the wall
President Trump says he’s willing to make a deal to legalize DACA recipients in exchange for border security — and that deal doesn’t include funding for the wall. (New York Times)


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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Student shot and killed after trying to stop classmate from firing gun inside Freeman High School

Posted By on Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 4:32 PM

freeman_high_school.jpg

A sophomore student brought two guns to Freeman High School on Wednesday morning, but the first one jammed when he tried to fire it, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.

Before the student shooter, who has been identified by news outlets as Caleb Sharpe, could fire the second weapon, a classmate, Sam Strahan, approached and tried to intervene.

"That student was shot, and that student did not survive," Knezovich told reporters.

Sharpe continued to fire down the hallway in the south Spokane County high school, striking at least three more classmates, according to students. All three were transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center and are in stable condition. One of the victims was expected to require surgery Wednesday afternoon, according to hospital officials.

The shooter has been taken into custody, and is currently in the Spokane Juvenile Detention Center, Knezovich said. There are few details about the shooter's motive, but Knezovich said "it sounds like a case of a bullying type of situation."

Several local media outlets have interviewed Freeman High School students. One freshman girl described hearing loud popping sounds and said she saw her classmate walking down the hallway "very calmly," with a "passive face." The freshman girl said she crouched down and "just heard screaming and screaming and screaming," according to an interview with KREM 2. She described seeing at least two classmates shot and lying on the ground next to her.

Another student told reporters that the suspected shooter handed notes to classmates in the days before the shooting. The notes indicated that the troubled student intended to "do something stupid," the student being interviewed told reporters. In an interview with KREM 2, the student said that counselors were given a copy of the notes.

Another student, who spoke with KHQ, described hearing the gunshots as he was waiting for his first class to begin.

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