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Knezovich calls out media and "culture of violence" after Freeman shooting

Knezovich calls out media and...

SPOKANE, Wash, - In a press conference on Thursday regarding the Freeman High School shooting, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich spoke candidly about his thoughts on violence, particularly school shootings.

“This is a situation that plays out in our society way too often, and we as a society need to make a determination as to what's causing this,” Knezovich said.

The sheriff is known for his commentary on certain issues- violence and mental health among those. He acknowledged that in today’s press conference.

“Folks, you're going to find that I am very much not politically correct, and the older I get the less my filter works,” he said.

Knezovich described the toll an event like this takes on first responders and law enforcement, who are tasked with the unimaginable duty of telling a parent their child won't be coming home.
“There's nothing like that scream. You will never forget it. I've heard it one too many times,” he said.

The sheriff could not confirm an official motive for the shooter but spoke, broadly, to violence in popular culture and mental health issues. He was specific in not assigning blame to local mental health resources or the school itself- One question that remains unanswered is whether the high school had been notified by other students about possible warning signs.

Knezovich did have strong words for media and elected officials.

“This young gentleman got sucked into a counterculture of violence, a culture that is enamored with school shooting. And, media,  you are to blame for that,” he said. “To those in the political world, knock it off. Enough.” 

Knezovich did later clarify to KXLY that the comments were directed at national news specifically, though both national and local crews were present at the press conference.

He did not offer specifics on how to change the "culture of violence" he described, but did extend a call to action.

“It is time for each and every one of us to say no to the hate that we see, to the violence that we see. We deserve as a society and, quite frankly, our kids deserve much better than we have given them,” he said.

Knezovich did stress that this investigation is still ongoing. If you have any information and you have not been contacted by investigators yet,  send it to freeman@spokanesheriff.org.


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