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Boy Arrested in School Shooting

July 18, 2000

RENTON, Wash. (AP) _ A 13-year-old boy who caused a panic at a summer school when he fired a shot into a cafeteria ceiling was arrested Tuesday after contacting sheriff’s officers from his grandparents’ house.

No one was injured in the incident Monday at Dimmitt Middle School. Tuesday’s classes were canceled.

The boy was identified by the sheriff’s office as Josh Warnock.

His mother notified authorities that her son wanted to turn himself in, and he was arrested peacefully at his grandparents’ house for investigation of assault with a firearm and reckless endangerment, King County sheriff’s spokesman John Urquhart said.

Urquhart said he did not know if a gun was recovered from the boy. He was to be taken to the county juvenile justice center in downtown Seattle following initial questioning at an undisclosed location.

After unsuccessfully searching the neighborhood and a wooded area near the school Monday night, officers had expressed hope the youth would give himself up.

Summer school classes were canceled Tuesday at the middle school and nearby Thomson Elementary School, which had been used as a safe haven for students Monday.

The boy was shown on KIRO-TV walking out of his grandparents’ home in handcuffs, wearing a Detroit Pistons T-shirt. He was described after the incident Monday as dressed in black, with blond hair dyed blue at the ends. But on Tuesday, his blond hair was cut short with no dyeing evident.

``They’re telling me this kid was very cooperative, they’ve never seen anger or violence of that type from him,″ school spokesman Peter Daniels said earlier. ``By all accounts he was not a problem.″

An aunt told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the boy, the oldest of three siblings, was being raised by a single mother. But she said the boy had not done well in school the past year and was attending summer school remedial classes.

During the week, the boy stayed with grandparents who live near the school so he could arrive at class on time, police said. During weekends, he stayed with his mother. Investigators believe the boy took the gun from his grandparents’ home, Urquhart said.

Neighbors said the mother moved the family often, recently vacating a house she had bought from her parents. They said the boy would return and break in so he and his friends would use the house.

Urquhart said the boy got on a table at about 10:30 a.m. Monday and shot a round into the ceiling. He ordered the other 200 students to get on the stage in the cafeteria, but they scattered and ran.

Brittany Lamb, 14, was sitting at the same table when the youth stood up and fired. She said she was too scared to move, and he threatened her directly.

``He put the gun right up to my face and he said, ‘I’m going to kill you if you don’t get up on the stage.’ I was frozen. I could not move at all,″ Brittany said.

She said that he had been talking about shooting a teacher for a few days and had told other pupils he was going to commit suicide before the police got him.

``A lot of people knew he was talking about it, but they didn’t say anything because they didn’t think he would really do it,″ she said.

Cylas Sampson, 13, said the boy had shown him a gun and a large knife at the beginning of the school day. ``I didn’t think he was going to do anything,″ Sampson said. ``I thought it was a fake gun.″

Just before the shooting, Cylas said he had called the boy over to sit with them. ``He said, ’You don’t have to worry about school anymore. Today’s your last day of school,‴ he said.

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