Oregon high school shooter's parents "horrified and distraught", offer apology

PORTLAND Ore. Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:41am EDT

Supporters attend a candlelight vigil after a shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon June 10, 2014.  REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

Supporters attend a candlelight vigil after a shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon June 10, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Dipaola

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PORTLAND Ore. (Reuters) - The parents of a teenage Oregon gunman accused of opening fire this week at his high school, killing a classmate before taking his own life, said they were "horrified and distraught" by their son's actions in their first public apology.

Jared Michael Padgett, 15, is accused of opening fire at Reynolds High School in the middle-class Portland suburb of Troutdale on Tuesday, killing 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after exchanging gun shots with police.

The shooting, the third outbreak of gun violence at a U.S. high school or college campus in less than three weeks, drew the ire of President Barack Obama, who expressed frustration over the inability of Washington lawmakers to tighten gun control measures.

"We give our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers to the family, friends and the entire community and you have our sincerest apology," Padgett's parents, Michael and Kristina, wrote in a letter given to a local Fox affiliate.

They said they were "horrified and distraught by the actions perpetrated by our son", who had every day displayed such attributes as compassion, forgiveness, and patience.

"Our family does not condone, and has never promoted, violence or hatred toward anyone," it said, adding the couple was "deeply sorrowful" for the victim's family.

Reuters could not independently verify the contents of the letter. Michael Padgett did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The 15-year-old was armed with a military-style rifle and a semiautomatic pistol obtained from his home and lacked any known connection to his victim, police said this week.

Gym teacher Todd Rispler was grazed by a bullet but made his way to the school's office to initiate the lockdown, possibly saving lives. Padgett was found dead in a bathroom stall.

"There are no words to describe the feelings we felt when we realized that our son might be involved," his parents said in the letter. "We are at a loss as to how and why this tragedy unfolded."

(Reporting by Shelby Sebens in Portland, Oregon; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Comments (3)
GSRyder wrote:
Wake up call amerika, your children are lovely, warm and cuddly . BUT YOU MUST SECURE YOUR WEAPONS !!!!!!!!! as you would a cross dog . The only exceptable use of a weapon by another . Is after it is taken from the owner, that after at least one shot was fired to defend the owner and the weapon .

Jun 14, 2014 8:37am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
Sometimes we are destined to never know what caused such a tragedy. I am sympathetic to both sets of parents.

Jun 14, 2014 11:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
REnninga wrote:
Quoting the apology letter: “We are at a loss as to how and why this tragedy unfolded.”

Hello! Here’s a clue to get you started: You kept a semi-automatic pistol, a military-style AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle and nine (9) high-capacity ammunition magazines and several hundred rounds of ammunition in your home, all of which your 15-year-old son took to his school and used your assault rifle to take the life of a child, and then take his own life.

Then, rather than giving your apology letter to the parents of the child that your son murdered with your assault rifle, you instead gave your letter to the local FOX NEWS affiliate. Yep, … FOX NEWS, which you knew would add all of the requisite right-wing, gun advocacy, 2nd Amendment spin (“law-abiding citizen, legally owned, legally purchased”, “guns don’t kill people, … yada, yada, yada.”)

Well, you told FOX NEWS you are “sorry.” OK, all fixed.
Now maybe the police will give you back your guns and ammunition so that you aren’t inconvenienced by having to go out and purchase a replacement arsenal.

If the police won’t return your guns, I’m sure some gun advocacy group or other guns-centric individuals will restock you, out of sympathy for the cause.

Or maybe you can try winning that brand new AR-15 assault rifle that the nearby Colton High School Booster club is raffling?

Jun 14, 2014 4:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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