Local News

Court docs: school shooter "flipped a coin"

SPOKANE, Wash. - The flip of a coin may have been the final determining factor in whether or not a Freeman High School student would open fire on his classmates.

Court documents released Wednesday show Caleb Sharpe told detectives he'd been thinking about shooting his classmates for two years; he said he had been "building up anger at people for months, even years." He said he decided the night before when he flipped a coin, "[saying] heads meant he would do it and tails meant he would not do it and never think about it again."

The coin landed on heads.

Sharpe told detectives he told the bus driver the day before that he would be bringing his golf clubs to school the next day. So, when he showed up with a large bag, it didn't raise suspicion. He said he put in ear plugs and walked up to the second floor hallway because he knew it would be crowded with people.

Court documents say Sharpe made sure his three friends were not in the hallway, then pulled out an AR-15. The gun did not fire, so he pulled a smaller gun out of his coat. Seconds later, he shot and killed Sam Strahan, then fired again down the hallway.

At that time, custodian Joe Bowen was making repairs in a nearby restroom and heard the gunshots. He came out and saw Sharpe walking towards him. Court documents say Bowen yelled at Sharpe to "get down on the damn ground." Sharpe complied, and Bowen put his knee on Sharpe's back until a school resource deputy arrived and arrested him.

Once in custody, Sharpe told detectives his plan went off exactly as he intended. Court documents say he "was not planning on shooting any particular people; he just planned on shooting people in general."

Sharpe told detectives he wasn't having any current suicidal tendencies. He said he had ADHD, but was not on any medication.

Court documents say detectives found evidence of pre-planning in Sharpe's bedroom. They found notebooks with rambling words and lists of past school shooters. They also found a diagram of the second floor of Freeman High School with other indications of his intentions.

They found a yearbook with names and faces crossed out with the words "X Kill." Sam Strahan's picture was crossed out; so was Sharpe's.

Sharpe already faces murder and attempted murder charges for Strahan's death and the girls were who injured. Wednesday, prosecutors added 51 second degree assault charges for the other people in the hallway.

 


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