Sunday, September 21, 2008

Olympic Shootings Have Links To School Gun Incident

A school gun incident two years ago appears to have been a prelude to the Olympic Peninsula shooting that left three dead over the weekend.

The shooting also comes not long after a 28-year-old Washington man was charged with killing six people and injuring four in a shooting rampage that started about 70 miles north of Seattle. According to court documents, Isaac Zamora told police that God had instructed him to "kill evil."

A U.S. Forest Service officer was fatally shot on Saturday, September 20, 2008, while making a traffic stop of a man who investigators suspect had also killed the owner of the pickup truck he was driving when captured, the Washington State Patrol said. The suspect died later in a shootout with sheriff's deputies. But in 2006, his estranged wife warned officials of his violent nature, but had to resign from her teaching job when she decided to protect herself.

The FBI was investigating the shooting of Officer Kristine Fairbanks, 51, a canine officer with 15 years in the forest service, state Trooper Krista D. Hedstrom told The Associated Press early Sunday.

Shawn M. Roe, 36, the suspected shooter, had three handguns and fired at least one shot at the deputies who confronted him at a convenience store, Hedstrom said.

Roe was a convicted felon with "an active criminal history" and was supposed to be under state Corrections Department supervision, she added. He apparently was not being sought on any warrant, she said. He was wanted on an arrest warrant from Mason County.

The third shooting victim was described only as a man in his 60s.

"We're just hoping that nobody else shows up" dead or injured, Hedstrom said.

The shootings occurred on the northern Olympic Peninsula about 50 miles west of Seattle.

Fairbanks called the state patrol at 2:22 p.m. and said she had stopped Roe in an old Dodge van without license plates near the Dungeness Forks campground in Olympic National Park, noted reporter Tim Klass.

When a dispatcher tried to contact Fairbanks with information on Roe, there was no response and troopers and a sheriff's deputy were dispatched. The deputy arrived first, at 3:10 p.m., and found Fairbanks dead. Her police dog was unharmed in her vehicle.

Authorities found the van about 6:30 p.m., abandoned not far away in a densely wooded area. Posters and flyers warning people to be on the lookout for Roe were distributed in the area.

A security guard at a convenience store near the Seven Cedars Casino on U.S. Highway 101 alerted sheriff's deputies at about 9:30 p.m. that a man matching Roe's description was in the store, Hedstrom said.

Two deputies arrived and told him to put up his hands as he came out of the store, but he drew a handgun and fired at least once before both deputies opened fire, Hedstrom said. Neither deputy was hit. Roe died at the scene.

Roe was found to be carrying two modern handguns and an older six-shooter, she said.

Investigators checked the registration of a white pickup he was seen driving when he arrived at the store, went to the house of the registered owner, and found the body of a man who had been shot, Hedstrom said.

Shawn Roe had been, indirectly, in the news before.

According to the October 24, 2006, issue of the Mason County Daily News, a North Thurston School District teacher from Shelton, Washinton, was accused of bringing a gun onto school grounds and had to resign. The North Thurston School Board accepted the resignation of Mary Catherine Roe, a language arts teacher at Nisqually Middle School.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office said Roe brought the handgun inside the school building in early September 2006. Roe told deputies she had the gun because she was afraid of her estranged husband, Shawn Roe. At the time, Mary Roe was being investigated for unlawfully carrying a firearm on school grounds, which is a gross misdemeanor. Under state law, guns can be brought to schools "only in certain instances."

North Thurston High School, located in the North Thurston Public Schools District in Olympia, Washington, is a comprehensive high school which first opened in 1955. North Thurston serves a portion of Lacey in Mason County, and part of northeast Thurston County, Washington State.

North Thurston High School is not to be confused with the Thurston High School shooting of Springfield, Oregon. On May 20, 1998, student Kipland "Kip" Kinkel killed his parents, William and Faith, both Spanish teachers at local high schools. On May 21, 1998, he arrived at class at Thurston and murdered two classmates, Ben Walker and Mikael Nickolauson, and injured 25. Kinkel was subdued by fellow students, at least one of whom had himself been shot.

Kinkel had brought three weapons to the high school, a .22 caliber rifle, a .22 caliber handgun, and a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol. His case was a precusor to the Columbine High School massacre of April 20, 1999.

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