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Second Oregon Student Dies

May 22, 1998

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (AP) _ A second student wounded in the school shooting rampage died Friday as police found and disarmed at least four bombs at Kip Kinkel’s home before making any attempt to remove the bodies of his parents.

The house, nestled among the fir trees just north of this city, was sealed off and neighbors were evacuated while bomb squads poked through every corner in search of booby traps.

Demolition experts found two bombs with electronic timing devices and two pipe bombs hidden in a garage crawl space, said sheriff’s Lt. Brett Freeman.

They also found two howitzer shell casings, a hand grenade, fireworks, various chemicals that could be used to make explosives and detailed bomb-making instructions.

By late Friday morning the home was deemed safe enough for crime-scene experts to go inside.

There, they found the bodies of Kinkel’s parents, who police said were shot to death between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday _ about the time the 15-year-old freshman allegedly walked into Thurston High School cafeteria and opened fire.

Kinkel, who had been suspended the day before for having a gun in his locker, fired off 51 rounds _ nearly all from a rifle _ before a wrestler, himself critically wounded, tackled him, police said.

When it was all over, 17-year-old Mikael Nickolauson was dead at the scene. Sixteen-year-old Ben Walker died early Friday from head wounds. Several others were in critical condition.

Kinkel was to make his first appearance before a judge Friday afternoon on adult charges of murder. If convicted, he could face life behind bars. Under Oregon law, juveniles cannot get the death penalty.

Investigators said the rampage _ which left 23 students hurt _ could have been worse if the wrestler hadn’t acted.

Kinkel ``had several fully loaded clips of ammunition and some loose ammunition in the backpack he was carrying,″ said Police Chief Bill DeForest.

Kinkel had a .22-caliber Ruger semiautomatic, a .22-caliber Ruger semiautomatic handgun, a 9mm Glock pistol and a military-style knife. Investigators said the rifle belonged to Kinkel, and the two handguns belonged to his father.

William P. Kinkel, 59, and Faith M. Kinkel, 57, were both foreign-language teachers who neighbors say kept close watch over their two children and restricted their use of guns. The couple’s daughter, Kristin Kinkel, is a student at Hawaii Pacific University.

In Springfield, a city of 51,000 about 110 miles south of Portland, more people came forward to talk about the dark side of Kinkel, who was once jokingly voted by his middle-school classmates as ``Most Likely to Start World War III.″

According to 14-year-old Nissa Lund, Kinkel bragged about stuffing lit firecrackers in a cat’s mouth. His girlfriend in middle school, Rachel Dawson, 15, said he was ``always bragging about making pipe bombs and shooting little cats.″

In a recent literature class, when it was Kinkel’s turn to share from his journal, he read about his plans to ``kill everybody.″

When asked why Kinkel was not referred to counseling after making such threats, School Superintendent Jamon Kent said: ``If we detained every student who said, `I’m going to kill someone,′ we would have a large number of students detained.″

Police and school officials said Kinkel was arrested Wednesday after a handgun was found in his locker. Another boy, Korey Ewart, allegedly stole the gun in a home burglary, brought it to school and sold it to Kinkel.

When officers asked Kinkel why he wanted the gun, the boy replied: ``I just like guns.″ But DeForest also said the boy said he had no intention of using it on anyone.

Both boys were arrested, Kinkel on charges of receiving stolen property and having a gun on school property. He was released to the custody of his parents.

Since October, similar shooting rampages have occurred across the country, in communities such as West Paducah, Ky., Pearl, Miss., Jonesboro, Ark., and Edinboro, Pa.

On Tuesday, a high school senior allegedly shot and killed a student in Fayetteville, Tenn., apparently over an argument about a girl.

Thurston High’s 1,350 students were off for the long Memorial Day weekend, but hundreds of students came back anyway Friday to meet with counselors or grieve at a fence that has turned into a memorial wall with flowers, balloons and scrawled messages.

Propped up against a small cross, nearly buried by flowers, was a sign pleading, ``Will we ever learn?″

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