Suspect's friends puzzle over Oregon shooting

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Associated Press

Posted on June 12, 2014 at 3:13 PM

TROUTDALE, Oregon (AP) — Jared Michael Padgett was a teen who had a fascination with guns, planned a career in the military and was deeply devoted to his Mormon faith, those who knew him say.

They're all wondering why the 15-year-old took an assault rifle, a handgun and nine ammunition magazines to his school and killed a fellow student, injured a teacher and took his own life.

Police said Wednesday they have not been able to establish a link between Padgett and Emilio Hoffman, the 14-year-old who was shot dead in a locker room.

Police have not said whether they believe Padgett had a specific target when he arrived Tuesday morning or planned a random shooting.

Padgett was passionate about guns and had a temper, but he also seemed like a nice and normal kid, students say.

"He always talked about guns," said Kaylah Ensign, a student who had a class with Padgett and was a close friend of the victim. She said Padgett could be kind and respectful but sometimes got angry.

Earl Milliron, a close friend of the Padgett family, said Jared planned a career in the military, was a devout Mormon and was ordained as a deacon at age 12.

"His father never told me he was worried about Jared. And I never suspected that he had serious problems," said Milliron, 86. "I refuse in my mind to believe that Jared Michael who did the shooting is the same Jared Michael I knew."

Padgett's oldest brother had served in the military in Afghanistan and the younger boy was planning the same path, Milliron said.

Padgett's parents had separated about five years ago, and the father raised the couple's six children, Milliron said.

Padgett had taken the weapons used in the attack from his family home, Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson said. Padgett took a school bus to campus and carried a guitar case and duffel bag. Police declined to say if the weapons had been concealed in the baggage.

Student Jose Garcia, who was on the same bus, said someone asked Padgett what the guitar case and duffel bag held, and Padgett said it was his football gear and a uniform stand, which is a rack for keeping uniforms crisp, The Oregonian reported.

At school, Padgett headed to a gymnasium that was detached from the main building and shot Hoffman in a locker room, authorities said. He also wounded physical education teacher Todd Rispler, who managed to make his way to an office and warn administrators about the shooting. A lockdown was ordered, and authorities notified.

As the gunman moved through a hallway, he encountered two officers, exchanged fire with one of them, and went into a restroom, Anderson said.

Padgett was later found dead in the bathroom.

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Associated Press writer Steven DuBois in Portland contributed to this report.

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