November 13, 2014 / 10:45 PM / 5 years ago

No charges to be filed against family of Oregon high school shooter

PORTLAND Ore. (Reuters) - Prosecutors have decided not to press charges against the father and older brother of an Oregon teenager who killed a classmate and wounded a teacher at his high school in June with a rifle taken from home, authorities said on Thursday.

Jared Padgett, 15, was armed with his brother’s military-style rifle and his father’s semiautomatic pistol when he entered a locker room at Reynolds High School in a Portland suburb on June 10, killing a high school freshman and wounding a gym teacher before turning the gun on himself. 

“No criminal charges will be filed against Michael or Lucas Padgett as a result of the school shooting perpetrated by Jared Padgett,” Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Davidson said in a memo obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

Davidson declined to comment beyond the memo issued to District Attorney Rod Underhill earlier this week. 

According to the memo, prosecutors could not charge Jared Padgett’s brother Lucas, a U.S. Army reservist, or father Michael Padgett because both had secured their weapons under lock and key and did not know that Jared Padgett was a risk. 

Investigators determined that Padgett used his father’s AR-15 rifle to kill freshman Emilio Hoffman, injure the gym teacher and take his own life. The rifle had been stored in a “Pelican” brand hard gun case in the bedroom that the brothers shared, while the pistol was stored in a locked bedroom.

Investigators determined both locations had locks and the family members said Jared Padgett did not have keys and they did not know how he got the guns. 

Michael Padgett told investigators his son liked guns and they would go shooting together. But that is not enough to send warning signals that he was capable of the school shooting, prosecutors said in the memo. 

“His general interest in guns itself would not suggest to a reasonable person that he was a substantial risk to commit the acts he engaged in on June 10,” the memo said.

Officials did not get permission to search the Padgett home until Nov. 3, when Michael Padgett and his lawyer permitted them to come in. Lucas Padgett allowed investigators to search his car the day of the shooting after he was guaranteed he would not be prosecuted for marijuana possession.

Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh

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