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FREEMAN, Wash. -- A suspect is in custody following a shooting at Freeman High School on Wednesday morning.
Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said one student was killed at the school.
Sacred Heart Hospital confirmed three children were transported following the shooting. The hospital will not release the injuries of the children until they are granted permission from their families. Wednesday afternoon, SCSO said the three victims were in serious condition.
The identity of the suspect has not been released. A parent from the high school said the suspect and the fatal victim were known as "best friends."
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said one student was killed after they tried to confront the shooter after his first gun jammed.
"Today that student came to school, armed. He entered the school and proceeded to take his weapons out. He attempted to fire one weapon and it jammed," Knezovich said. "He went to his next weapon and a student walked up to him, engaged him and that student was shot.”
Knezovich said the suspect then fired more rounds down the hallway, striking the other three students.
Schaeffer said a report of a second shooter was not true.
Authorities said the shooting was first reported at 10:30 a.m. A lockdown was put in place at the school at 10:35 a.m.
Several school districts in the Inland Northwest also went into lockdown as a large law enforcement response team began searching the school campus.
As of 12:55 p.m., all lockdowns were lifted.
Shortly after reports of the shooting, parents began rushing to the school on South Jackson Rd.
Authorities said parents looking to reunite with Freeman High School students should report to the bus barn entrance at Highway 27 above the school building. Parents will need to show photo ID to sign out students.
Officers will be interviewing high school students about the incident through the evening hours.
Elementary and middle school students were released early. Parents should approach the schools for pickup from the south end of the campus on Jackson Road, avoiding Highway 27. Parents will need to show photo ID to sign out students.
A student named Cory Therman said she saw the suspect holding a gun in the hallway before hearing three gunshots. She took off running with other students and ended up at the elementary school a short distance away.
"I felt like I was in a stampede," she said.
Therman said the shooting happened during the 10:15 a.m. bell, the first of the day.
She said students had a lockdown drill Tuesday.
"This is shocking. I would never expect this at Freeman," another student at the scene said.
“I just don’t really know what to think right now,” said a third student.
“These are senseless and tragic events that don’t need to happen,” Knezovich said. “I don’t understand them, I don’t think anybody can make any sense out of this.”
"We need to figure out what’s gone wrong with our society that our children decide they need to take weapons to deal with the issues that they’re facing," Knezovich said.
Spokane Mayor David Condon called it a "horrendous tragedy."
"Our hearts are broken by the events at Freeman High School this morning. This is a terrible day for the students, parents, teachers administrators and the rest of the close-knit community. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this horrendous tragedy. First responders in our region are one team. Spokane City employees were part of that team in the first moments and will be there for the Freeman community as it begins a long road to recovery," Condon said in a statement.
Governor Jay Inslee called the shooting heartbreaking.
“This morning’s shooting at Freeman High School is heartbreaking. All Washingtonians are thinking of the victims and their families. We’re grateful for the service of school staff and first responders working to keep our students safe. The Washington State Patrol and all state agencies will do whatever we can to help provide support and comfort in the days and weeks to come,” Gov. Inslee said in a statement.
Sen. Maria Cantwell said, "My heart is with the Spokane community," in a tweet.
“While the facts are not yet available to us, my heart goes out to my many friends in the Freeman District and the families and the students involved in this great tragedy,” said Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) in a statement.
Authorities said they would be using the hashtag #FreemanHS on social media with any new information they had.