Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gresham Copycatted Columbine

New accounts from Gresham, Oregon, have noted that a Tuesday, April 10 school shooting appears to have been triggered by the shooter's viewing of the recent National Geographic Channel's "The Final Report: Columbine."

That individual, Chad Antonio Escobedo had watched the Columbine documentary and decided April 7 that he would do a shooting at his school because he was angry, according to the new court documents, as reported by KPTV, KATU-TV, and Oregon newspapers.

A 15-year-old boy charged with attempted aggravated murder after a shooting shattered some windows at a high school told police he was influenced by a television documentary on the 1999 Columbine shootings in Colorado.

Chad Antonio Escobedo appeared Wednesday afternoon in Multnomah County Circuit Court to face two counts of attempted aggravated murder along with two counts of assault and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

Ten students suffered minor injuries from shattered glass in the Tuesday afternoon shooting at Springwater Trail High School in this Portland suburb.

According to an affidavit filed by Deputy District Attorney Christine Mascal, Escobedo started forming the plan Saturday because he was "angry" at a teacher who had left messages at his home, telling his parents he wasn't doing well in school.

Another teacher is "mean" to students, he told police.

Escobedo also said he was angry at his mother because she would not let him live with his biological father in Eastern Oregon, the affidavit said.

The court document — which mentioned the Columbine influence — said that Escobedo left his house Tuesday morning [April 10th] carrying his stepfather's Winchester .270-caliber bolt action rifle and three boxes of bullets in the rifle's carrying case. He told police he hid the weapon in tall grass near the school before heading to class.

During lunch, he showed a bullet to several friends and told them he would shoot at the school. Instead of returning to class after lunch, he retrieved the rifle, put a bullet in the chamber and fired at what he thought was the classroom of the teacher who left messages at his house, according to the affidavit.

Coincidentally, the principal at Springwater — Larry Bentz — was principal at Thurston High School in Springfield when a student killed two other students and injured 25 in a shooting spree nearly a decade ago.

"When I hear lightning never strikes twice in the same place, I might question that," Bentz told KATU-TV in Portland.

But he said the circumstances were different in the shooting that broke windows at Springwater on Tuesday and the deadly rampage by Kip Kinkel at Thurston in 1998. Kinkel was sentenced to 112 years in prison in the Thurston shootings.

"I don't think there's any point in comparing the two events," Bentz told KATU.

Some of the Springwater students told KATU that Escobedo had warned them he was going to shoot at the school but they did not take him seriously or report him to a teacher or administrator.

Debbie Sanderson, the mother of a Springwater student, told KATU that Escobedo called her daughter and confessed to the shooting before police took him into custody.The Associated Press, April 11, 2007

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