SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash --- When tragedy strikes a community like the shooting at Freeman High School, people always want to know why it happened.
Court documents show the suspect, Caleb Sharpe, said he did it because he was bullied. Other students and the Spokane County Sheriff think that may not be true.
Here is what we have learned so far about the suspect. Documents say his mother found a suicide note in their home that was written more than a week ago. As for when the note was found though, the Sheriff told us that part is unclear. Documents also said the suspect was seeing a school counselor for suicidal thoughts.
A friend of the suspect told detectives he makes improvised explosive devices at home. Other students said he was active on social media and knew the suspect liked to play with guns, according to court documents.
KREM 2 found evidence of that fact online as well. The suspected shooter posted several videos on YouTube where he repeatedly pretends to be shot and pretends to shoot others. Some of the guns in the videos are similar to the ones law enforcement said he used at Freeman High School.
After the shooting at Freeman High School, KREM 2 interviewed another student who was friends with the suspect.
“We are still trying to figure out why he would have done this,” said Freeman HS sophomore, Michael Harper.
The suspect told detectives he was bullied by other students. He said he came to school to teach everyone a lesson about what happens when you bully others, according to court documents.
But, was he actually bullied?
Harper described him as a kid who was good at making friends.
“My friend that did this, was trying to make friends with everybody, and he was doing really good about it,” Harper explained. “He just never seemed like the person to do this.”
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich was asked about the bullying claims at a press conference on Thursday.
“We are getting some conflicting information on that,” Knezovich said. “The more social media stuff we dig into, this looks more like this kid got enamored by the school shooting culture.”
The videos posted on Youtube seem to point to an interest in violence. Parents of some students said bullying was not the issue and said they think he did it to copy other school shootings.
Knezovich said it seemed to be pointing in the direction of a copycat mentality.
“This young man got sucked into a counter culture of violence, a culture that is enamored with school shootings,” Knezovich said.
The investigation is ongoing, so definitive answers about why this happened are not yet clear. What we have seen so far though, seems to point toward a fixation on violence.
“We have another tragic situation where a young man decided to go and kill some of his friends. Why? Because we have a culture that said itis ok and you need to start fixing that,” Knezovich said.
The suspect is facing one count of first degree murder and three counts of first degree attempted murder. He is not expected to appear in court until September 26.
At this point he is still charged as a juvenile. A hearing needs to be held before he can be officially charged as an adult.
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