By Steven DuBois Associated Press
PORTLAND — The older brother of a 15-year-old boy who killed a student at an Oregon high school told investigators his semi-automatic rifle disappeared on the day of the shooting, according to search warrant documents released Thursday.
Police previously said Jared Padgett used a semi-automatic rifle to kill fellow freshman Emilio Hoffman, and that it came from the family home. However, authorities have declined comment on whether the rifle belonged to Lucas Padgett, the brother of the suspect.
Lucas Padgett, an Army reservist, told police he went to Reynolds High School in Troutdale to search for his brother after hearing about the June 10 shooting.
When Lucas Padgett couldn’t find him, he returned home to discover his rifle was not in the bedroom the two shared.
The documents don’t provide further details on where the gun had been kept. Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson previously said the rifle had been kept in a secured area but the teen was still able to gain access.
Lucas Padgett told a detective he had several other guns inside the house along with gun lock boxes, extra magazines and ammunition, the documents state.
He identified the missing rifle as an M4 AR-15 that fires .223-caliber rounds, the same type found at Reynolds High.
Lucas Padgett and his father, Michael Padgett, did not return messages seeking comment Thursday. Sgt. Carey Kaer, a spokesman for Troutdale police, which is leading the investigation, did not return phone or email messages.
The documents don’t include a motive for the attack. The freshman arrived at Reynolds High armed with an assault rifle, handgun and knife, authorities said, and later killed himself in a bathroom when confronted by police.
Gresham police detective Aaron Turnage wrote the affidavits for the search warrants. They reveal some of what was learned when police interviewed witnesses, searched the Padgett home and inspected the boy’s school locker.
Jared Padgett arrived at school carrying a guitar case and an Army duffel bag that both belonged to his older brother. Police have not confirmed that any weapons were inside the baggage.
Austin Trichos, 15, saw his friend toting the items while walking toward the school gymnasium, the documents said.
Trichos told police he spoke with Padgett daily, but got no response when he called out to him from a short distance. He said whatever was in the case was probably not a guitar “based on the heavy weight of the items and the odd weight displacement,” the documents said.
Trichos said his friend often spoke of owning and shooting guns, including an AR-15 rifle.
Among the items seized at the Padgett home were computers, gaming systems, drawings and a journal. Investigators also collected knives, rifles, a shotgun, a pellet gun and multiple boxes of ammunition.
A backpack that belonged to Jared Padgett was found in an outside trash bin.
When Lucas Padgett couldn’t find him, he returned home to discover his rifle was not in the bedroom the two shared. The documents didn’t provide further details on where the gun had been kept.