Police: Victim in Reynolds shooting was 14-year-old freshman



Updated: June 10, 2014, 5:09 PM

2 dead in shooting at Reynolds High School

Local Angle

When shots were fired Tuesday morning at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Ore., police in Clark County dropped what they were doing and responded to the incident.

In total, 12 Clark County sheriff’s deputies, eight Vancouver police officers and six Camas police officers helped out.

“It’s those initial phases in a situation, like an active shooter, where you really want to get an adequate number of resources on scene so you can contain the situation,” said Clark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Fred Neiman.

Members of the regional SWAT team sent an armored vehicle and helped sweep the school Tuesday morning. Officers directed traffic and transported students from the high school to the Wood Village Fred Meyer, where they were reunited with family members.

Through mutual aid agreements, regional law enforcement agencies help each other out during major emergencies. Mutual aid calls are fairly routine within the county, Neiman said. Going outside the county, and into Oregon, isn’t nearly as common, but it can happen. In 2007, a Gresham-Multnomah County SWAT team actually made the arrest after a 20-hour standoff at a Vancouver home with an armed, barricaded criminal who shot a police officer and another man.

“An active shooter is one of those calls that elicits immediate response from local law enforcement and a concentrated response from regional law enforcement,” Neiman said.

Every on-duty Camas patrol officer was sent to Oregon, along with detectives, said Camas police Sgt. Scot Boyles. “They weren’t given a particular duty,” he said, adding that they returned relatively soon.

In their absence, Boyles, School Resource Officer Tim Fellows, Chief Mitch Lackey and Capt. Shyla Nelson made themselves available to take urgent calls anywhere in the county. Two officers who work a 10 a.m. shift started patrol duties early, and the Washougal Police Department also offered to take calls outside its patrol area. While police were gone, there weren’t any major emergencies in Clark County.

Once Reynolds High School was secured, Clark County police returned to their regular duties. Those who were directing traffic couldn’t be relieved right away, but everyone was back by the afternoon.

— Patty Hastings

 Photo Gallery: Shooting at Reynolds High School

One student was killed by a gunman at Reynolds High School on Tuesday in Troutdale, Ore,

TROUTDALE, Ore. — A teen gunman armed with a rifle shot and killed a 14-year-old student Tuesday and injured a teacher before he apparently killed himself at a high school in a quiet Columbia River town in Oregon, authorities said.

After the shooting stopped, police spotted the suspect slumped on a toilet in a bathroom at Reynolds High School. Officers used a robot with a camera to investigate and discovered the suspect was dead and that he had likely killed himself, Troutdale police spokesman Sgt. Carey Kaer said.

His victim was identified as freshman Emilio Hoffman, who was “loved by all,” police Chief Scott Anderson said at a Tuesday news conference. He said Hoffman was found in the boys’ locker room.

A girl who used to be Hoffman’s girlfriend said he was “a good kid” and a “down-to-earth guy.”

“He was very caring, he loved to joke around,” said Savannah Venegas, 16.

Hoffman lived with his mother and had an older brother and two younger sisters, both in elementary school, Venegas said.

Anderson said he spoke with Hoffman’s family, saying they had a difficult road ahead and sought privacy.

Hoffman didn’t have enemies and “didn’t stir up trouble,” Venegas said.

“They wouldn’t have just picked him,” she said. “It had to be, just, random.”

Authorities have tentatively identified the gunman but his name is being withheld until his family is notified, Anderson said.

The teacher, Todd Rispler, had injuries that weren’t life-threatening, and he was treated at the scene. Rispler, 50, a physical education instructor and former track coach, went to the office and initiated the school lockdown, Anderson said. The attack panicked students and they were told to go quietly to their classrooms.

Freshman Morgan Rose, 15, said she hunkered down in a locker room with another student and two teachers.

“It was scary in the moment. Now knowing everything’s OK, I’m better,” she said.

Freshman Daniel DeLong, 15, said after the shooting that he saw a physical education teacher at the school with a bloodied shirt. He said he was texting friends to make sure they were all OK.

“It just, like, happened so fast, you know?” he said.

Anderson said two on-campus police officers were the first to respond to reports of a shooting. The officers and a tactical team sent to the school “brought this to a conclusion,” the chief said, without elaborating.

“Oregon hurts as we try to make sense of a senseless act of violence,” said Gov. John Kitzhaber.

The first reports of shots fired came around 8 a.m. on the next-to-last-day of classes. Police initially seemed uncertain about whether there was a live shooter in the school.

Students were eventually led from the school with hands up or on their heads. Parents and students were reunited in a supermarket parking lot.

Mandy Johnson said her daughter called from a friend’s phone.

“I thank God that she’s safe,” said Johnson, who also has three younger children. “I don’t want to send my kids to school anymore.”

The Reynolds School District issued a statement mourning the loss of one of its students.

Reynolds is the second-largest high school in Oregon, with about 2,800 students. The school is about 15 miles from Portland and its students come from several communities.

During the evacuation, authorities found another student with a gun and he was taken into custody. That weapon and arrest were not related to the shooting, Anderson said.

The Oregon violence came less than a week after a gunman opened fire on a college campus in neighboring Washington, killing a 19-year-old man and wounding two others. It follows a string of mass shootings that have disturbed the nation, including one on Sunday in Nevada that left two Las Vegas police officers and a civilian dead.

The Tuesday shooting was the first fatal school shooting in Oregon since May 1998, when Kip Kinkel, then 15, killed two students and wounded 25 others at Thurston High School in Springfield near Eugene. He killed his parents before the attack and is serving a 111-year prison sentence.