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Friday, May 22, 1998 Published at 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK



World: Americas

Nightmare at Thurston High
image: [ A student is stretchered away from the carnage ]
A student is stretchered away from the carnage

One student has died and up to seven others are critically injured after a teenage gunman opened fire at their school.

Kipland Kinkel, 15, began shooting in the canteen of Thurston High School, Springfield, Oregon. He injured a further 25 people.


The father of a student at the school speaks to the BBC (0' 49")
Another two bodies, of a man and a woman, were found at his home. Police have not confirmed if they are related to Kinkel.

The 15-year-old, armed with guns and military knives, was eventually overpowered by other students.

His shooting spree took place at the beginning of the school day. He is understood to have been expelled the day before.


[ image: Suspect Kipland Kinkel in a photograph taken in 1997]
Suspect Kipland Kinkel in a photograph taken in 1997
The dead student was identified as Mikael Nickolauson, 17, who had just enlisted Monday in the Oregon National Guard.

Eye-witness Janice Brady said: "He just walked in nonchalantly and all of a sudden pulled out two guns and started shooting people."

US President Bill Clinton has expressed his sympathies at the White House.


President Clinton extends his sympathies to the relatives of the wounded (0' 21")
He said: "I know that all Americans are heartbroken by the terrible shooting in Springfield.

"I would just like to say on behalf of the American people that our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the people who were killed and wounded, and with that entire fine community."

The gunman was tackled by students who pinned him down until the police arrrived and arrested him, 20 minutes after the first shots were fired.


The BBC's Washington correspondent Phillipa Thomas: "opened fire with semi-automatic rifle" (0'47")
School wrestling coach Gary Bowden said a star member of the wrestling team tackled the gunman and got the gun away from him despite being wounded.

The condition of the student, named by Mr Bowden as Jake Ryker, was not immediately available.

The school of 1,350 students was shut down immediately after the shooting while parents, many of them weeping and screaming, waited outside.

Football student had been expelled

Several students said they knew Kinkel as a 15-year-old freshman who played football and had been expelled a day earlier for trying to bring a gun to school.


[ image:  ]
Some said he once gave a talk in speech class about how to build a bomb.

"He always said that it would be fun to kill someone and do stuff like that," said student Robbie Johnson, who knew the suspect.

"He told a couple of people he was probably going to do something stupid to get back at the people who had expelled him."

Thurston High School in the small community of Springfield lies about 180km south of Portland. It has been described as a good school, with no more than minor crime problems up to now.

Series of school shootings

The shooting comes two months after the mass attack by two teenage students at a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where five people died and ten more were wounded.

On Tuesday, a high school senior shot and killed a student in a school parking lot in Fayetteville Tennessee, three days before they were to graduate, apparently because they had argued about a girl, authorities said.

On April 24, a 14-year-old boy opened fire at an eighth-grade graduation dance in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, killing a teacher and slightly wounding two students and another teacher.
 





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