Victim in Oregon school shooting identified as 14-year-old freshman

OREGON — The scenes are becoming depressingly familiar.

A gunman opens fire on an American campus. Students, teachers and administrators duck for cover. Parents anxiously wait for their kids to check in, praying for the phone to ring.

Emilio Hoffman (Facebook/CNN)

Emilio Hoffman (Facebook/CNN)

It played out again Tuesday at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon, a city of 16,400 people about 12 miles east of Portland.

A student at the school shot and killed another student before apparently taking his own life.

The victim was a 14-year-old freshman Emilio Hoffman.

Police haven’t yet disclosed the shooter’s identity – or, more importantly, what compelled him to carry out such a horrifying act.

The shooting, the second in a week’s time, is the latest in a long string. An attack at Seattle Pacific University last week killed one person and wounded two others.

Since the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been at least 74 school shootings, according to the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. That’s nearly one a week in the last 18 months.

Speaking in Washington, President Barack Obama said the nation should be ashamed of its inability to get tougher gun restrictions through Congress in the aftermath of mass shootings that he said have become commonplace in America.

“Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country on Earth that would put up with this,” he said.

The shooting

The shooting happened just as classes were about to get under way at Reynolds High School.

When it started, student Hannah League ducked into a classroom, where she and others huddled in a corner with no lights — hiding.

“I heard these pops and I thought they were firecrackers, but then I saw a teacher run out with his side kind of bloody,” League told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

According to multiple law enforcement officials, the shooter was a student at the school. He entered the building that houses the school gym.

He shot and killed Hoffman, the 14-year-old freshman, in a locker room.

The shooter then apparently took his own life. His body was found in a restroom.

The debate

So, what now? Will this latest instance of gun violence compel Congress to act?

The President isn’t optimistic.

Most members of Congress are “terrified” of the National Rifle Association, he said Tuesday, adding that nothing will change until public opinion demands it.

“The country has to do some soul searching about this. This is becoming the norm, and we take it for granted, in ways that as a parent are terrifying to me,” Obama said.

The was no immediate response from the NRA.

The number of active shooter events — defined as one or more persons whose primary motive is mass murder in a confined or populated area, not including gang and family-related shootings — has risen somewhat in real numbers in recent years.

A recent report by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center found that the number of these types of mass shootings has increased: from an average of about five a year prior to 2009 to 15 in 2013.

The focus

For its part, the NRA and its supporters say no number of laws can effectively curb anyone out to kill.

“The violence is in the person, not in the gun,” said Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.Org, earlier this year. “And until you figure out how to treat the violence, then you’re going to have that. And taking all the guns off the street is not going to make anybody any safer.

CNN analyst Fareed Zakaria disagrees with that assertion.

“Every time there is a serious gun massacre in the United States — and alas these are fairly common — the media focuses on the twisted psychology of the shooter and asks why we don’t pay more attention to detecting and treating mental illness,” he wrote.

“The question we should really be focused on is not the specific cause of a single shooting, but why there are so many of them in America.”

America’s per capita gun homicide rate in 2009 was 12 times higher than the average of Canada, Germany, Australia and Spain.

“Does anyone think that we have 12 times as many psychologically troubled people as they do in these countries?”

It’s a point Obama also touched on on Tuesday.

“The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It’s not the only country that has psychosis,” he said.

The next steps

Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, laments that America is so divided on this topic that meaningful reform is difficult.

“It seems in America today with our politics and everything else about our lives, we’re on the extremes,” Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, told CNN on Tuesday night. “You’re on the right or the left or whatever, just extremes.”

Manchin helped broker a gun background check compromise last year that would have required a universal check for all purchases. But it failed in the Senate.

“I don’t know what it’s going to take to pass something today,” he said.

The aftermath

Back at Reynolds High on Tuesday, anxious parents waited for news that their children were safe as word of the shooting spread.

One couple, Craig Tuholski and Tawnjia Reimer, were talking with CNN affiliate KGW, about how agonizing the wait for news was, when Tuholski’s cell phone rang.

“Is that Chris?” Reimer asked before letting out a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank God.”

“That’s what we were waiting for,” Tuholski said after hanging up.

Evacuated students were bused to a local grocery store parking lot and released after clearing a police pat down for weapons.

“Raise your hand if you see your kid,” Lt. Steve Alexander of the Multnomah County sheriff’s office said, according to KGW. “We’ll get you to them.”

As they did, the tension quickly turned to hugs and tears of joy.

Trademark and Copyright 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Filed in: News

7 comments

  • FaithC

    I am so sorry and sickened this happened. The answer is NOT to take guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens.

  • James

    I know that most rational people have heart felt sympathy for the young man killed in this case. It doesn’t surprise though the tone of this article coming from the CNN wire. a large part of it used to sensationalize the incidents mentioned. I just find it interesting that we have news agencies talking up the tragedies, while ignoring other information. I am including a link to a story that references a study by the Pew Research Center that asserts that Gun homicide is DOWN 49% in the United States since 1993 and the public is unaware. Why are they unaware, because mainstream media wants to push the gun control agenda not the truth.

    http://www.kltv.com/story/25635541/gun-homicides-down-dramatically-americans-unaware

    • Ken

      I am a teacher as well and I see first hand how students today can not handle the word “NO” They are so use to getting there way at home and when ever some one else says “NO” they will just about tear the building down. This will never stop until Parents start learning how to say no to there kids. I also see many cases where many kids are reaching out for attention and will do what ever it take to get it. Parents need to spend more time talking and loving there children than just raising there kids. Taking the guns away from people is not the answer that some people think, it all starts at home. May God Bless our country again and people are starting to see what happens when our country turns away from God’s plan.

  • Sandra Nunn

    The media will really jump on this for gun control because that is Obamas agenda But they will Not stay on the lies of OBAMA of how He has endangered AMERICA by releasing the terrorist because He wanted to…… OBAMAS actions are more dangerous than gun……

  • Thomas Noell

    No, Mr. “President”, the shame is on anti-gun zealots, like you, for not enforcing the thousands of gun laws on the books already. Gun-related prosecutions have reduced 40-45% under the Obama Administration as compared to those enforced under George W. Bush (Syracuse University study, 2012). In addition, Obama’s own gun-running scandals (Fast and Furious, where the federal government leaked thousands of assault weapons to Mexican drug lords) have enabled the guns that he attacks to come back across the border (due to his lack of enforcement of border security) and kill innocent Americans like Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. So, before “shaming Congress” and lecturing the rest of America about the need for EVEN MORE gun control, how about get your own incompetent administration in order and enforce the ton of gun laws already in place.

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