Breaking News
More () »

Community in mourning after student killed in Freeman HS shooting

A school shooter killed one student and injured three more Wednesday morning in Freeman, Washington.

Editor's note: App users, click here.

FREEMAN, Wash. -- Classes in Freeman are canceled for the rest of the week following a shooting at Freeman High School that left one student dead and three others wounded.

The student who was killed has been identified as Sam Strahan, a sophomore.

Staff returned to school Thursday, but were asked not to talk about what happened.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said the student was killed after he tried to confront the shooter after the first gun jammed.

Sacred Heart Medical Center confirmed three female teenagers were transported following the shooting. Thursday morning, the hospital said all three were in "stable" condition. Initially, SCSO said the three were in serious condition.

Hospital officials said one of the three victims had to undergo surgery Wednesday afternoon.

KREM 2 News is not yet naming the girls. Sacred Heart says anyone who wants to visit the victims needs to get direct permission from their parents.

Officials with Sacred Heart Hospital said if people would like to visit any of the victims at Sacred Heart Hospital they need to get direct permission from the victims' parents.

The suspect's name is Caleb Sharpe. He was expected to have a detention hearing in juvenile court Thursday, but it was later learned the appearance would not be happening.

A parent from the high school said Sharpe and Strahan ere known as "best friends."

"Today that student came to school, armed. He entered the school and proceeded to take his weapons out. He attempted to fire one weapon and it jammed," Knezovich said. "He went to his next weapon and a student walked up to him, engaged him and that student was shot.”

Knezovich said the suspect then fired more rounds down the hallway, striking the other three students.

"We still have conflicting stories on what happened next but it sounds like some very courageous action on behalf of a Freeman School District employee who stopped this active shooter situation," Knezovich said.

Several school districts in the Inland Northwest went into lockdown as a large law enforcement response team began searching the school campus.

Shortly after reports of the shooting, parents began rushing to the school on South Jackson Road.

Officers interviewed high school students about the incident through the evening hours.

Elementary and middle school students were released early. Parents were asked to show photo ID to sign out students.

A student named Kori Thurman said she saw the suspect holding a gun in the hallway before hearing three gunshots. She took off running with other students and ended up at the elementary school a short distance away.

"I felt like I was in a stampede," she said.

Thruman said the shooting happened during the 10:15 a.m. bell, the first of the day.

She said students had a lockdown drill Tuesday.

"This is shocking. I would never expect this at Freeman," another student at the scene said.

“I just don’t really know what to think right now,” said a third student.

Wednesday night, the Freeman School District superintendent sent out a note to students, staff, their families and the media.

Dear Freeman Family,

This is Randy Russell, superintendent.

As you are aware, an unthinkable tragedy occurred today on our campus. I speak for the entire Freeman Family in sending sincere thoughts and prayers to the family of our student lost today, to our injured students and their families, as well as the entire Freeman community.

I want to share with you as much information as I can, while respecting the privacy of students and families, and assuring that law enforcement officials are allowed to complete a comprehensive criminal investigation.

Shortly after 10 o’clock this morning an armed student opened fire on four innocent students, resulting in one student fatality at Freeman High School. Thankfully, our injured students are expected to recover. The shooter was apprehended and is in custody.

There will be no school in our district tomorrow, Thursday, September 14, and counseling services for students and staff will be available. Specific information about location and times for those services will be shared on the Freeman School District website and Facebook.

We greatly appreciate the cooperation of our wonderful students, awesome staff, and amazing parents.

Thank you for loving, and supporting, your children, our staff, and one another always, especially during this difficult time.

“These are senseless and tragic events that don’t need to happen,” Knezovich said. “I don’t understand them, I don’t think anybody can make any sense out of this.”

"We need to figure out what’s gone wrong with our society that our children decide they need to take weapons to deal with the issues that they’re facing," Knezovich said.

Spokane Mayor David Condon called it a "horrendous tragedy."

"Our hearts are broken by the events at Freeman High School this morning. This is a terrible day for the students, parents, teachers administrators and the rest of the close-knit community. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this horrendous tragedy. First responders in our region are one team. Spokane City employees were part of that team in the first moments and will be there for the Freeman community as it begins a long road to recovery," Condon said in a statement.

Governor Jay Inslee called the shooting heartbreaking.

“This morning’s shooting at Freeman High School is heartbreaking. All Washingtonians are thinking of the victims and their families. We’re grateful for the service of school staff and first responders working to keep our students safe. The Washington State Patrol and all state agencies will do whatever we can to help provide support and comfort in the days and weeks to come,” Gov. Inslee said in a statement.

Sen. Maria Cantwell said, "My heart is with the Spokane community," in a tweet.

“While the facts are not yet available to us, my heart goes out to my many friends in the Freeman District and the families and the students involved in this great tragedy,” said Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) in a statement.

Authorities said they would be using the hashtag #FreemanHS on social media with any new information they had.

You can send your thoughts to the Freeman community on social media using the #FreemanStrong.

Before You Leave, Check This Out